Latin American Left Continues to Win Electoral Victories
Interview with Laura Carlson, director of the International Relations Center's America's program, conducted by Scott Harris
Over the past five weeks, candidates of left and center-left political parties have won a string of presidential elections in Brazil, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Venezuela. The year began with the stunning electoral triumph of Evo Morales, an Indian activist and advocate for the poor in Bolivia and ended with the re-election of President Hugo Chavez to another six-year term in oil-rich Venezuela. These leaders join incumbent progressive heads of state in Argentina and Uruguay. Powerful left parties are thriving in many other Latin American nations, including Mexico, where the ongoing dispute over a July presidential election has mobilized hundreds of thousands to protest what many believe to be a tainted vote count. There, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the Party of Democratic Revolution and his supporters have carried out a campaign of civil disobedience to underscore their contention that the election was stolen.
During what some observers describe as Latin America's "Pink Tide" revolution, the Bush administration has been unable to exert much influence to reverse the progressive trend. The White House effort to expand the North American Free Trade Agreement to the entire hemisphere in the Free Trade Area of the Americas Treaty has failed. And while President Bush unsuccessfully attempted to blackmail voters in Nicaragua to prevent the election of one-time Cold War foe Daniel Ortega, Washington and Paris together succeeded in ousting Haitian President Jean Bertrand Aristide in 2004. An earlier Bush administration effort to overthrow the elected government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 2002 was stopped by an outpouring of popular support for Chavez.
Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Laura Carlson, director of the International Relations Center's America's program. Reached in Mexico City, Carlson examines the economic conditions that have empowered left parties across the hemisphere and the challenges ahead for progressive governments looking to develop a set of alternative development policies outside the control of Washington's free-market orthodoxy.
Contact the International Relations Center's America's program in Mexico City by calling (505) 388-0208 or visit their website at www.Americas.irc-online.org.
Foreign Policy in Focus at www.fpif.org
The Democracy Center at www.democracyCTR.org
Council on Hemispheric Affairs at www.coha.org
North American Congress on Latin America at www.nacla.org
International Forum on Globalization at www.ifg.org
Washington Office on Latin America at www.wola.org
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