Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Latin America is moving left

MEXICO CITY, May 3 - He is mayor of the largest city in the hemisphere, and this country's latest political phenomenon.

He can summon tens of thousands into the streets at will. In a whirlwind three weeks he staged the biggest protest in Mexico's recent history and turned back a legal challenge from the Mexican president and Congress that threatened to end his political career.

Now Andrés Manuel López Obrador is considered the favorite to be elected president next year.

New York Times

With the dawn of the new mellenium, it is becoming more apparent that Latin America is moving left. Venezuela has Chavez, Brazil has Lula da Silva, Argentina has Kirchner, Panama has Torrijos, Domincan Republic has Fernandez, Uruguay recently elected Tabare Vazquez, and of course, Cuba has Castro. Also, the growing populist movements in Bolivia and Peru will probably breed a leftist government as well. Ecuador, who just ousted a leftist-turned-moderate president, will probably put another leftist in power. One must also mention the leftist movement that has plagued Colombia with civil war for 40 years. And, although Puerto Rico does not admit it, it too has a left wing, social democracy. A few days ago, the Organization of American States elected a Chilean socialist, Jose Miguel Insulza, as head of that organization. This as evidence, the odds are that next year Mexico will move left by electing populist and front-runner Lopez Obrador as their president.

Of course, this is all occuring with Washington biting its nails. But is this really surprising? Latin America tried to move left during the 50s and 60s but US intervention stopped that attempt. Now, Latin America is doing it again, via democratic ways and with a tongue sticking out at the US. What is the US to do? Frankly, I am all for expressing the will of the people and believe that the US should sit back and allow those countries to act as they please. It's about time Latin American countries defy the US and affirm their own power and independence.

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