Greenman's Occasional Organ

Ecosocialist. Syndicalist. Critical Techno-Progressive.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Further Interesting Developments in Central and Southern America

The new President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has been sworn in, pledging a "Citizen's Revolution".

This comes after last weeks' swearing in of the returning Sandinista President of Nicaragua, Daniel Ortega - both ceremonies attended by fellow leftist Presidents Morales of Bolivia and Chavez of Venezuela.

Correa's swearing in was also attended by Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has been touring the region. Ahmadinejad has also visited Ortega.

Ahmadinejad said that Iran and the Central and Southern American states "have common interests, common enemies and common goals". The tour will certainly raise Dubya and friends' blood pressure.

One can see why states in the firing line of American Imperialism feel the need to club together, as has been the case with the non-aligned movement for a long time. However, the embrace of the reactionary Iranian demagogue by the new populist leaders of South and Central America should remind those European and American leftists who get too idealistic about the new mood in South America of the nature of realpolitik and the uncomfortable alliances of convenience it sometimes brings about. The key to real and lasting change in Latin America, as elsewhere, is not charismatic leaders and populist rhetoric - but the empowerment of ordinary people. This last is the most positive element in some of the programmes of the new leaderships. Whilst defending the rights of Southern and Central American peasants and workers to be free of US imperialist interference is not negotiable, vigilance is required as the populist leaders walk the tightrope between falling back into playing the neo-liberal game or developing dictatorial regimes where the creative instincts of the people are once again constrained.

On a lighter note, though, this raised a smile.

For English speakers Znet's Latin America Watch is a useful resource as is Justin Delacour's blog.

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