Latin America: The End of What Cycle?

By Atilio Borón on June 10, 2019

Many were those who, in the middle of this decade coinciding -casually, involuntarily? with the deployment of the empire’s restoration offensive, hastened to announce the “end of the progressive cycle” in Latin America. The defeat of Kirchnerism in 2015 and the unlawful and illegitimate overthrow of Dilma Rousseff in 2016 as well as Lula’s grotesque trial and imprisonment appeared as unequivocal signs of the beginning of a new historical cycle. Only the prophets of this epiphany never went so far as to take a very elementary risk: what came next? One cycle ended but did this mean that another began? Absolute silence. Two alternatives. Either they adhered to Francis Fukuyama’s thesis on the end of history, which is absurd if anything; or as the most audacious insinuated, with feigned concern, we were at the beginning of a long cycle of right-wing governments. And I say feigned because, hypercritical of the governments of the supposed bankrupt in pectore cycle, they preferred the arrival of a pure and hard right that would supposedly accentuate the contradictions of the system and magically open the door to who knows what… because, surprisingly, none of those acerbic critics of the progressive cycle spoke of socialist or communist revolution, or of the need to deepen the anti-imperialist struggle. Therefore, their merely rhetorical and academic argument died at the mere attestation of the presumed closure of a stage and nothing more.

All these speeches collapsed abruptly in recent weeks. In truth, they were already descending since López Obrador’s unexpected triumph in Mexico and his late incorporation into the “progressive cycle”. His victory showed that though seriously wounded, he had not died. The debacle of macrism and its almost certain defeat in the presidential elections of October of this year and the recent revelation of the illegal and immoral schemes forged between the corrupt judge Sergio Moro and the prosecutors of the Brazilian judicial power to send Lula to prison dealt a hard blow to the two pillars on which rested the beginning of the supposed “post-progressive” cycle. In Argentina, the macrists are expecting the worst, knowing that only a miracle would save them from defeat. And Bolsonaro is on the brink of the abyss because of Brazil’s economic crisis and for having appointed as super-minister of justice an unscrupulous lawyer who resoundingly lies about his intention to offer a transparent, pristine government, inspired by the highest moral principles of Christianity that were instilled in him by the pastors of the evangelical church when -appropriately and opportunistically- they renamed him Jair “Messiah” Bolsonaro in the Jordan River. The leaks of WhatsApp’s chats and conversations between Moro and the prosecutors announced by The Intercept, as well as the multiple denunciations of corruption against him and his children, reveal that this holy man who is called to wash Brazilian politics of its sins is none other than the head of a criminal gang, an impostor, a charlatan at a fair, a beggar whose days in the Planalto Palace seem to be numbered. And keeping Lula in prison will be increasingly difficult given the legal farce perpetrated against him now displayed in broad daylight. And Lula Libre is a major brand of danger for the current Brazilian government.

Is it that only Argentina and Brazil are failing to live up to the forecasts of “end-of-cycle” theorists? No. What about the Colombian disaster, a real pseudo-constitutional ” dictatorship” where, according to the daily El Tiempo, “during the first 100 days of President Iván Duque’s mandate, there have been 120 murders of leaders”, a bloodbath comparable to or worse than that of the dictatorships that devastated countries like Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Uruguay in the seventies and eighties ( Not to mention the case of Peru, where all its former presidents since 1980 (Alberto Fujimori, Alejandro Toledo, Ollanta Humala, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Alan García) are imprisoned, fugitive or suicidal, which together with the Colombian catastrophe and the defection of Mexico irreparably dampened the little gunpowder left in the hands of the “Lima Cartel” as a regional lackey of the American Caligula. Even the Chilean case is not without doubts since the delegitimization of its political system has reached unprecedented levels. In fact, in the face of the scandalous capitulation of that fragile democracy to the great corporate interests, in whose name it is exclusively governed, the majority of the adult population have opted for electoral abstentionism with the consequent abandonment of the democratic project.

In other words, what would supposedly come after the exhaustion of the “progressive cycle” is problematic to say the least and far from being an alternative to the “extractivism” or “populism” that supposedly characterized previous governments.

This should not be interpreted as an assertion that the cycle begun with Chávez’s triumph in the presidential elections of December 1998 in Venezuela continues its imperturbable march. Much has suffered in recent times. The change in the international economic climate played against him; the work of destruction carried out by Macri, Piñera, Duque, Bolsonaro and the infamous betrayal of Moreno, that true “Brancaleone armada” that Trump and his predecessor installed in Latin America, has undermined many of the advances of the past. But reality is stubborn and a setback is not defeat, nor is it a one-off setback. The old topo of history continues his work tirelessly, favoured by the exasperation of the contradictions of an increasingly savage and predatory capitalism. The long march for the emancipation of our peoples -which was never linear and invariably ascending- continues on its course and will end up evicting those surrenderist, reactionary and cipay governments that today overwhelm Latin America and shame us before the world. And we won’t have to wait long to see it.

Source: Pagina 12, translation Internationalist 360