Neoliberalism Burns in Our America

By Katu Arkonada on November 9, 2019

Photo: Garcia Rawlins

A ghost travels through Latin America and the Caribbean, the ghost of rebellions against the neoliberal model of social dispossession.

We began 2019 by remembering Benedetti and those painted on the walls that said that when we had the questions, answers were changed.

We also remembered at the beginning of the year Gramsci and his Prison Notebooks, when the secretary general of the Italian Communist Party defined moments of crisis as moments of monsters, where the old does not finish dying and the new does not finish being born.

Trump and Bolsonaro are probably the most monstrous expressions of these confusing times that we have had to live in, where the neoliberal globalization model is in crisis, a crisis that is not alien to a left that has also failed to respond to the problems of ordinary people, making possible the emergence of these monsters.

We also began this year with the biggest informative bombardment onVenezuela, with the self-proclamation of a puppet from the United States, the intensification of the economic war and the electric sabotage against the world’s largest oil reserves. All led by the United States and the Lima Group.

And yet, we end the year, the Bolivarian revolution is still going on, the Lima Group has exploded into a thousand pieces, and a wave of challenges to the attempt at conservative restoration is sweeping the continent, both from below, from the peoples, and from above, from the governments. They have different characteristics, but one constant, both in the popular rebellions and in the electoral victories of the progressive forces is the rejection of the neoliberal model.

From below, popular mobilizations in Chile, Ecuador, Honduras or Haiti have shaken Latin American territory, from the Caribbean to Patagonia. The most intense are taking place in Chile, the country where a coup d’état was staged against a socialist president to turn it into a laboratory for a neoliberal model that would later be perfected in Reagan’s United States and Thatcher’s United Kingdom before being launched throughout Latin America. The Chilean rebellion was not for a 30 pesos rise in subway fares, but for 30 years of neoliberalism in a society that still upholds Pinochet’s Constitution.

But also a few weeks ago we saw how Ecuador was socially shaken by Lenín Moreno’s attempt to remove the fuel subsidy in an oil country, forced by the International Monetary Fund as compensation for a credit of 5 billion dollars.

And even if the big media doesn’t show it to us, in Honduras, where they had to give a coup d’etat to the weakest link in ALBA to guarantee that it would continue to be a US colony, and with the brother of President Juan Orlando Hernández recently convicted of drug trafficking, the people continue to mobilize against a model of dispossession that forces tens of thousands of people to flee out of fear and misery in massive caravans.

And what about Haiti, invisible in the media. The first Latin American country to declare its independence in 1804, and the first to suffer a successful coup d’état in the 21st century, a country under neocolonial occupation, and which continues to resist in the street against the doctrine of neoliberal shock that has left its people in the most absolute poverty, but with their dignity intact.

The OAS, Jorge Ramos, or any of the tools that capital uses to set the political and media agenda, have not said a word about any of these four countries, despite the government repression that leaves hundreds of people wounded and murdered.

On the other hand, they have pronounced themselves on Bolivia, where Evo Morales and the MAS, with a clear anti-neoliberal project (as well as anti-imperialist and anti-colonial) have once again won the elections with almost 48 percent of the votes, making it clear that Bolivian society does not want a return to the past.

The Uruguayan people have given victory to the Frente Amplio, although the electoral law indicates the need for a second round. And in Argentina, Kirchnerism and Peronism are back after four years of neoliberal disaster, which has only served to increase poverty and debt to the International Monetary Fund. The Argentine people voted convincingly against neoliberalism.

The combination of struggles from below, in the form of popular revolts, and struggles from above, in the form of electoral victories, allows us to glimpse at a new moment of political and social accumulation of the post-neoliberal progressive cycle. If we also add the feminist wave, the green tide that runs through Latin America from south to north, and that intersects the struggles from below and from above, questioning a sector of the population that does not necessarily feel represented by political parties or other social movements, we can visualize a 2020 of great anti-neo-liberal power.

We will end 2019 with two of the three Latin American G-20 countries with progressive governments and Lula in freedom, and we hope to enter 2020 with streets full of graffiti that say “More Marx and Engels, less influencers.”

Source: La Jornada, translation Resumen Latinoamericano, North America bureau