This week’s post comes a little late, mostly due to laziness and anxiety over the end of my summer vacation. With the start of my school schedule, I am certain that my blog posts will become more regularly on Sundays into the future. Anyway, this post concerns South America, a continent comprising of twelve countries and rich with history and culture. I always pay close attention to the politics of the continent, mostly because I see many of its countries as rising powers on the world stage. I intend to suggest what these countries need to and should do to increase their influence without neglecting their populace in the process. Namely, I intend to declare my support of the pink tide, which I’ll discuss shortly.
Anyway, the pink tide is a phrase used to describe trends in modern Latin American politics. Namely, the phrase symbolizes the increasing acceptance and implementation of leftist politics in Latin American governments. Because red is typically seen as the color of communism, pink can be used as the “color of socialism” and other far left movements which are not quite as extreme as communism. It’s quite an important change in current regional politics, and has swept several nations in Latin America. For this post, I will only be covering South America, but I assure you the pink tide has also affected several Central American nations. The current pink tide leaders include: Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner in Argentina, Jose Mujica in Uruguay, Dilma Rousseff in Brazil, Ollanta Humala in Peru, and Fernando Lugo in Paraguay up until recently.
The reason I choose to examine the pink tide is due to the fact that it is a relatively new and promising movement. In the past, South American politics were largely dominated by military dictatorships and centrist leaders. If you’ve read my blog in the past, you likely already know why I despise what occurred. If you haven’t, let me summarize briefly: death, torture, repression, and suffering. Some of the world’s most brutal regimes existed in 20th century South America, but things have changed since then. No longer do dictatorships mar the governments down south, and no longer do people die or suffer without governments trying to solve the problems. As such, I view the pink tide as a natural effect. South America is a highly diverse continent with a grievous past, which will seek to prevent its mistakes and promote change into the present. In order to expand the benefits of democracy and economic success to the poor and disenfranchised, it is undeniable that South American governments will turn towards the left in their efforts. We can be certain the right will not perform in that aspect.
There are many criticisms of the pink tide, mostly stemming from global conservatives. Some issues are of legitimate concern, however. I speak namely of the less-than-democratic means some leftist leaders have taken to promote socialism and the left in their native countries. The two most obvious examples of this are Venezuela and Bolivia. In Venezuela, Chavez led a Bolivarian Revolution from 1999 onwards which expanded his powers and abilities as president greatly, along with altering the constitution to fit a more leftist perspective. My biggest issue with the latter portion is that Chavez did not allow proper debate over the inclusion of leftist principles into the constitution; should he have allowed it, I’m certain Venezuelans may have agreed with him anyway. As for the former issue, I’m not a huge fan of Chavez; while I view him as important as a global influence against conservative strides, he does not rule in a way which benefits the people most. I would very much like to see fresh socialist and communist leaders take his place, initiating a more democratic move towards the left. However, I do realize that his position cannot fall to other opponents from the right and center. Venezuela controls significant amounts of oil; if they wish to preserve their sovereignty and prevent exploitation by oil companies and oil-obsessed governments, they must remain stable and unwilling to budge on certain oil policies they currently have.
Bolivia is a separate case. Bolivia’s past is dominated by several military regimes, along with CIA involvement against leftist insurgency (most notably the assassination of Che Guevara in 1986). In 2005, Morales and his party were elected with a full majority. Morales is also the first president of the nation to not be a descendant of Europeans. I’m more partial towards Morales than I am towards Chavez. Morales was elected democratically (both times), and has provided mostly successful policies. His presidency has been marked by good economic growth and a modest decrease in inequality. Bolivia is also now considered one of few South American countries to be “illiteracy-free”. My one major quip with Morales is over his process of constitutional approval. When the new constitution was being drafted, he changed the requirement for a two-thirds approval vote towards a simple majority vote, decreasing the democratic needs of a nation plagued by inequality and troubles. I would have preferred that he left the rule as it was originally and let the chips fall where they may; perhaps the protests in eastern Bolivia would not have occurred.
Other than these two leaders, I whole-heartedly support pink tide presidents/prime ministers. The indigenous population of South America has been neglected and pushed aside, and the left is responsible for ensuring their equality. It is our duty to preserve diverse and equal societies as simple and basic tenets of democracy. Seeing countries like Chile having income inequality that is worse than our own is disheartening, to say the least. However, socialist leaders have the opportunity to change the direction of countries. As the political importance and influence of South America grows into the remainder of the 21st century, these countries cannot allow themselves to become nations which allow capitalism to run rampant on the masses as we did. We suffer now for it; let’s hope it doesn’t occur anywhere else.
That is all for this post, and I hope I’ve provided a strong and clear opinion on the issue at hand. Once again, your feedback is encouraged. If you have questions or comments, please leave them here. You can also contact me through my email firstname.lastname@example.org, my Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ accounts. I also now have a Steam account by the name of KnoFearMLP (because someone had the gall to take KnoFear before I did), so feel free to contact me there as well. That’s all for this week, and this is KnoFear signing off.