Author`s name Lyuba Lulko

USA loses all of its erstwhile influence in Latin America

No one in Latin America looks up to the United States anymore. The demand for social justice is bringing leftist forces back to power, which will increase the influence of China and Russia.

Why a Marxist became president in Peru

Pedro Castillo's obvious victory in the presidential election in Peru, a rural union activist from the Marxist Free Peru Party, is not going to be the last success of the leftist forces in Latin America.

Castillo won the election on June 15 (having gained 51 percent of the vote) by promising to nationalize extractive industries and ensure a fair redistribution of national rent. At the same time, Peru has been showing very good economic performance in the region. GDP per capita from 2011 to 2019 has grown by two percent a year, and the share of the population living in poverty has fallen from 59 percent in 2004 to 20 percent in 2019.

When the coronavirus epidemic struck, the country suffered from a catastrophic lack of doctors, whereas most of the country's hospitals had outdated or broken equipment and infrastructure. There were only 276 intensive care beds registered in the country.

The Peruvians working in the field of "informal" economy were deprived of state assistance. This, according to the National Institute of Statistics and Informatics (INEI), accounts for 75.2 percent of the population as of the third quarter of 2020. Those people do not have insurance policies, bank accounts, their incomes fell by an average of 12 percent, and the level of general poverty in the country rose to 30 percent. The COVID-19 death rate in Peru is among the highest in the whole region.

Of course, 75 percent of those working in the field of "informal" economy versus 30 percent of the middle class easily voted for a Marxist, despite manipulations with vote counting. 

A similar state of affairs in terms of social justice takes place not only in Peru, but also in other countries of "market economy". They are shaken by manifestations with slogans: "They do not represent us." It goes about neoliberal ruling elites, which failed to provide people with work, medical assistance, protection and vaccines. 

The left can handle the pandemic better

The situation is different where leftist forces are already in power. it goes about such countries as  Argentina, Nicaragua, Mexico, Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba. These countries have many years of experience in social policy issues, most of the people live modestly, but there is no social stratification as in the countries of victorious neoliberalism. In Сovid times, the purchase of vaccines in those countries is exempt from geopolitics, hospitals can handle the influx of patients, and people have pension, social and medical insurance.

Even direct pressure on those countries does not help the West win the information war against them.

  • Venezuela has withstood the embargo.
  • Nicaragua is heading towards a new confident victory for Daniel Ortega in the elections.
  • In Bolivia, the left have returned to power, both in parliament and in presidency.
  • Cuba embarks on reforms in the interests of the private sector while maintaining social policies.
  • The regimes of Alberto Fernandez in Argentina and Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico remain stable.

Since taking office in 2018, Lopez Obrador has expanded state control over oil, gas and energy. The party of the president has won another victory in general elections for legislatures, municipalities and governors of 17 states, which were held in Mexico in early June.

Left-wing candidates are poised to win in Chile, Colombia and Brazil, where presidential elections are to take place in the next year and a half.

  • Chile has protested since the end of 2019 against the increase in public transport fares,
  • Colombia - against police violence,
  • Brazil - against the inaction of the authorities during the pandemic. 

Nothing that the authorities have promised - rural education, new infrastructure, clean water and sanitation - nothing has been done. Citizens, represented by the middle class, are concerned about their declining incomes too.

Therefore, voters prefer to replace the current economic neoliberal model with a different model ,where the state will be playing a greater role in economy.

Chile will most likely vote for communist Daniel Jadue as president in November. The 54-year-old grandson of Palestinian immigrants appears to win the election, a poll by the Chilean newspaper El Mercurio said. Among those who intend to vote, Jadue received support from 38 percent of respondents, while his closest rival, Independent Democratic Union (UDI) candidate Joaquin Lavin, gained 33 percent.

In an interview with Bloomberg, the communist leader urged international investors "to reflect on the role that they have played in the chaos and problems in the region." Only those who are willing to contribute to the welfare of the people of Chile will be able to work in the country, if he takes office as president. The changes that have been taking place in Chile clearly indicate that "people have realized that neoliberal politics is incompatible with democracy," he added. 

In Colombia, left-wing candidate Gustavo Petro takes the lead in all electoral polls. In all likelihood, he will become president in May. Colombia has always been a stronghold of neoliberalism and a staunch ally of the United States - it has never seen a left-wing government. In 2018, Petro came in second in the election after the current right-wing president, Ivan Duque.

Brazil to re-elect Lula

As for Brazil, the country has awakened from the US-imposed fight against corruption. Not that long ago, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, the leader of the Labor Party, who served as president from 2003 to 2011, was released from prison, where he had served a sentence for his alleged acquisition of a "palace". He has been fully rehabilitated and appears to be a frontrunner of the October 2022 election with more than a two-fold lead over sitting President Jair Bolsonaro.

The United States can't stop Latin America from going left 

According to Andrés Velasco, a former Chilean finance minister, currently the dean of the School of Public Policy at the London School of Economics, inequality and social services are the problems that bother people's minds in Latin America most today - economic growth prospects are secondary.

Despite Venezuela's “failures,” “we have little desire to go back to free market and free trade that the United States have been advocating," Velasco said in an interview with La Tercera.

    "No one thinks about what the United States is doing anymore," he added.

The current state of affairs in Latin America is reminiscent to the series of left-wing victories that the region had seen in the past, after the election of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1998.

The imminent changes in the political course of the continent will strengthen the relations of the region with China and Russia. In addition, it will be more difficult for the United States to show influence on events happening near its borders. Suffice it to say that Nayib Bukele, the left-wing President of Salvador, whose approval rating fluctuates at around 90 percent, introduced bitcoin into official circulation in the country and ensured every Salvadorian had a virtual wallet. Bukele has thus expressed his disrespect for the US dollar, the official currency of El Salvador.

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