After the election in Peru for the presidency of the former rural teacher with “left” views, Pedro Castillo, in the region again started talking about the changes in the political situation in Latin America. Although in Ecuador the “right” candidate won the electoral process, the dynamics in Latin American countries shows a definite turn “to the left”. How are the criteria for the “left” agenda changing today? What can the region expect in the near future?
The outgoing year, as well as the coming one, are intended to change the map of the region through transformations associated with the electoral processes in a number of Latin American countries. In the near future, elections are expected in Colombia, Chile, Argentina and Nicaragua. In Brazil, the electoral process is scheduled for October 2022, but political tension is already tangible, which seems to be “in the air¨. Today, it is worth noting that in Venezuela, some success can be noted in the negotiations between the government and the opposition, which are mediated by Mexico. At the same time, it is obvious that Nicolás Maduro (Spanish – Nicolás Maduro Moros) does not intend to give up his positions and, through an agreement with the opposition, intends to return state assets arrested in Western countries.
Let’s turn to some of these countries, which have already frozen in anticipation of the upcoming electoral processes. Currently, in Colombia, among the electorate, the first place is taken by the political and statesman, economist and former rebel Gustavo Petro (Spanish – Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego) with 17% support, amnestied militant of the left-wing radical “M-19” group, who three times was elected a deputy, twice a senator and served as head of the Colombian capital.
Gustavo Petro has already tried to become the head of state in 2010 (when he took fourth place with a result of 9% of the votes) and in 2018 (25% of the votes in the first round and 42% in the second, losing to the current president Ivan Duque). With the current balance of power, the entire spectrum of the “left” (from the moderate to the “FARC”), criticizing the radicalism of the current leadership in the fight against the remaining militants and the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and even the voters of Ivan Duque (Spanish – Iván Duque Márquez), disappointed in their choice of 2018. Presumably, Petro has every chance of remaining the only viable candidate from the “left”, and given the extremely low rating of Duque, he is already considered as a candidate for the second round.
The second place in the polls in Colombia is occupied by Sergio Fajardo (Spanish – Sergio Fajardo Valderrama) with 7% support, who positions himself as an absolute “centrist”, he has never entered into an alliance with any political party in the country. In the third place it is a professor and former Mayor of Medellin Juan Manuel Galán (Spanish – Juan Manuel Galán Pachón) with 6% support. The three-time National Congress member, Galán is a member of the so-called “New Liberal class”. He proposes to legalize drugs – from marijuana to cocaine, euthanasia and same-sex marriage. He is supported by liberals in the US and Europe, but observers emphasize that he has little chance of winning in Colombia.
The presidential and parliamentary election in Chile is scheduled for November 21, 2021. Gabriel Boric Font, who has Yugoslav roots, from the left coalition “I Approve Dignity” (Spanish – Apruebo Dignidad). Also running is Yasna Provoste Campillay, who previously served as Minister of Education (and was convicted of corruption). The third candidate is the former head of the State Bank of Chile, Sebastian Sichel (Spanish – Sebastián Iglesias Sichel Ramírez) from the right platform “Chile, go!” (Spanish – Chile Vamos). Recent polls have shown significant approval of the candidate from the “left” bloc, since the other two participants in the pre-election race represent forces that have already managed to significantly compromise themselves.
In recent months, the antagonism between the presidential administration and the Supreme Court has become increasingly evident in Brazil. Although on the Independence Day of the country (September 7), Jair Bolsonaro (Port. – Jair Messias Bolsonaro) demonstratively mobilized the masses, it is necessary to take into account the possibility of using administrative resources. It is expected that the “Brazilian Workers’ Party” (Port. – Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro, abbreviated – PTB), and trade unions and groups of the autochthonous population will rally against the system.
In August, Brazil hosted the largest protests organized by the indigenous people of the Amazon. They opposed the plans of an alliance between the President Bolsonaro and lobbyists from the mining and agricultural industries to cut forests. This aggressive policy against indigenous peoples has been pursued by the incumbent President since 2019. More than 6,000 representatives of Indian peoples from about 200 different groups have come together in the capital in order to draw public attention to this problem. It is important to note that such giants as the American company “Blackstone” and the private conglomerate “Cargill” are behind investments in the Brazilian agro-industrial sector. The electoral process in this Latin American country is intended to become a kind of barometer of voters’ political fatigue from the current polarization.
Electoral processes have already taken place in a number of countries in the region. In Bolivia, following the general elections on October 20, 2020, the “left” forces, represented by the candidate Luis Arce (Spanish – Luis Alberto Arce Catacora) from the “Movement to Socialism” party (Spanish – Movimiento al Socialismo), took revenge. In Peru, as mentioned in this article, the June elections were won by the school teacher, trade union activist and left-wing politician Pedro Castillo (Spanish – José Pedro Castillo Terrones). Despite the fact that the center-right Guillermo Lasso (Spanish – Guillermo Alberto Santiago Lasso Mendoza) won in Ecuador, many experts started talking about the region drifting “to the left” again. In general terms, we can certainly say that Latin America is entering a new phase of political tension. A kind of “package” interaction with the states of the region seems to be quite effective, where Russia, China, Iran and a number of countries that oppose the hegemony of Washington and London could collectively form a new political agenda under a common brand of multipolarity.