Brazil (TFC) – Fifteen years ago, scholars and political scientists alike announced the Rise of the New Left in Latin America: with Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Lula/Rouseff in Brazil it seemed the tide was turning in Latin America. And while we have all been hopeful that Latin America was on a path to success, it seems that joy is short lived. Even if you are only vaguely familiar with Latin American history, a history ranging from colonialism to outright imperialism, you have some inkling that the US has played a critical role in shaping political leadership within the region; often times unjustly destabilising regimes which were the result of democratically held, free and fair elections (an ideal supposedly supported by the US).
Leftist Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, has recently called for Latin American citizens to stage their own ‘democratic revolutions against the U.S. empire’ in order to politically renew the region. Even though Morales is far from perfect, having been rightly criticised by both the Right and Left of corruption, he may have a point.
2. One of the main impeachment leaders, Temer, has strong ties to the US. It has been confirmed that he is in fact a US informant.
What’s more: the US refuses to publicly comment on the ‘soft coup’.
Results of the Coup:
Are the coups in Paraguay and Brazil related?
Argentina, Ecuador, and Venezuela, all part of the so-called New Left, declared the impeachment of Lugo in 2012 Paraguay a coup. After being unfairly blamed for the land war massacres, Lugo stated that he believes the US played a definitive role in his impeachment and in the massacres occurring under him.
Though there is no hard evidence to back this up (yet), it is worth noting that Lugo was one of Paraguay’s very first non-Colorado Party, non-right wing presidents before being ousted. Moreover, Paraguay promptly moved to back to the right subsequent to Lugo’s removal. There seem to be some similarities between the Brazilian and Paraguayan coups, however we have yet to receive clear confirmation on the US’s role.
During the current election Hilary Clinton has gotten flack for her role, as Secretary of State, in the 2009 coup in Honduras. While the US has confirmed its role in the coup, it has yet to call it that. Clinton has also confirmed her role, defending it by saying that she has no intention of condemning her role nor the continuing US Humanitarian Aid given to Honduras which actively funds the military take over. Annie Bird, co-director of Rights Action, has stated that there is no other way of characterising what has happened in Honduras as a ‘military coup with no legal basis’. By the US continuing aid to Honduras, it demonstrates full support of the regime and keeps a direct tie to government (however illegitimate).
So should we expect to see more active US led destabilisation in Latin America? Yes, and if we look at the past, it seems that not much has changed. The US continues to play a disruptive role for its own gain. Often one that leads to the end of democracy (like with the turn from Allende to Pinochet in Chile). I predict that we will see increasing destabilisation (via military coups and soft coups) occur in other Latin American countries which do not economically cooperate with the US in a favourable way: namely, those who do not adopt neoliberal policies. We have already witnessed a failed coup in Venezuela backed by the US. Will we see a definitive reversal of the ‘New Left’? This is a strong possibility. I argue that this does predict the beginning of a strong right-wing trend. Does this spell the end of democracy in Latin America? Not necessarily. However, with such active interference with the legal and judicial affairs of Latin American countries, it may be out of the control of Latin American political figures that cannot be bought, bribed or instructed. This isn’t to say that the the citizens of Latin America do not play a part in changing the tide (and by no means do I mean to diminish the role of such a strong Latin American tradition). In fact, the citizens of Latin America may be the only force to prevent ongoing coups and active US interference–furthering Morales’ point. However, this is to say that it may not always be up to the citizens. This also isn’t to say that the US is the only winner here; corrupt politicians are also the the winners. However, we must always ask whenever there is a coup: who are the real winners?