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Sunday, 01 May 2011 08:24

CWI 10th World Congress

Latin America

29/12/2010

"With the second centenary of national political independence being “celebrated” in various Latin American countries, the impasse for the political alternatives that have developed in the last period, like “Chavismo” and “Castroismo”, the region is at a decisive conjuncture."

Document No. 4, CWI World Congress

This document on Latin America is one of the resolutions from the CWI’s 10th World Congress. Documents were agreed on World Relations, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia, Russia and Eastern Europe, and on the situation in Africa.

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Introduction

The growth in Latin America that preceded the international crisis helped to create the conditions for relative political stability in the majority of countries. The acute period of crisis and recession, starting in 2008, threatened to provoke a new wave of political and social turbulence, such as that which characterised Latin America at the turn of the century. Even though the process did not develop as it could have done (with the exception of the radical and massive general strikes in Guadalupe and Martinique in 2009), the relative recovery does not offer any guarantees of lasting stability or social peace. Instability is still the hall-mark of many countries and the possibility of a double dip in the crisis in Latin America would rapidly lead to the return of radicalisation and social and political polarisation.

Latin America has been an important arena for the resistance of workers and oppressed peoples against the neo-liberal attacks that marked the end of the 20th Century and the beginning of this century. The profound international crisis, which started in 2008, shifted the focus of international resistance to workers of the advanced capitalist countries, especially in Europe.

There are elements of a “latin americanisation” of Europe. However, this process does not necessarily imply the opposite - a “European-isation ” of Latin America in the sense of it being transformed into the “first world”, as propagated by capitalist commentators.

The economic recovery in Latin America that started in the beginning of 2009 does not mean the beginning of the end of the region’s peripheral character within international capitalism, that of a region subservient to imperialism. This is confirmed by the new relations of dependency developing with countries like China, which has not replaced the subordination to US and European imperialism.

With the second centenary of national political independence being “celebrated” in various Latin American countries, the impasse for the political alternatives that have developed in the last period, like “Chavismo” and “Castroismo”, the region is at a decisive conjuncture. The advance or retreat of the struggle for emancipation of the Latin American peoples will depend on the capacity of the working class and the oppressed peoples to build a socialist alternative.

The Crises and the limits of recovery

The epicentre of the international crisis of capitalism is not Latin America this time. This is an important difference in relation to the debt crisis in 1982 and the “tequila effect” resulting from the Mexican crisis in 1994, and the instability that persisted from 1998 to 2002. Those crises, especially the last of them, profoundly affected the countries of the region, provoking mass movements and served as a background to the toppling of governments in several countries and the rise of new governments that adopted an anti-neoliberal stance. However, the fact that the crisis has it epicentre in the advanced capitalist countries means that it’s more profound and severe than previous crisis and the generalisation of its consequences is inevitable. Latin America is not only already experiencing it’s effects but will tend to suffer even more profound contradictions in the future.

The exceptional growth cycle in Latin America 2003-2008, with an average annual growth rate of 5.5 %, was interrupted by the international crisis at the end of 2008. The year 2009 was marked by a fall of 1.9 % in the GDP of Latin America and the Caribbean, provoking recession, unemployment and a growth of poverty. Approximately 3 million Latin Americans lost their jobs in the first months of 2009.

However, in contrast to the previous crisis that hit Latin America (1998-2002), this time there has not been any break with the economic models, debt moratoriums or collapse of governments or regimes. The crisis has not yet provoked a situation like in 2001 that led to the collapse of De La Rua’s government in Argentina and the economic model inherited from Menem.

During the crisis, the measures adopted by the majority of governments in the subcontinent followed the international pattern of state intervention to avoid a profound and lasting recession. Without this, the Latin American economies would have fallen into the abyss of a profound and lengthy recession.

The countries that suffered most from the crisis were those with more links to the US economy, especially Mexico, but also Central American countries (mainly El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica). Mexico experienced a fall in GDP of 6.5 % in 2009. However, Venezuela, directly affected by the volatility in oil prices and by an energy crisis, also suffered as a consequence of the world crisis.

Countries like Brazil, Chile and Paraguay had GDP falls in 2009 (-0.2 %, -1.5 % and -3.8 % respectively), but have a perspective for growth in 2010. Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia succeeded in maintaining small growth during 2009 with estimate for more growth in 2010. The 10 countries of South America combined had an average GDP fall of 0.2 % in 2009, and should see recovery, with growth of 5.2% in 2010.

The price for this apparent prosperity in midst of an international crisis is the inflow of volatile capital and the increased value of local currencies. This will have harsh consequences for the Latin American economies. In spite of high prices for commodity exports, the ongoing currency war tends to provoke important imbalances in the current accounts of the countries with higher growth. This scenario opens the way for a flood of imported products and a further de-industrialisation of the region. The timid measures adopted up to now by governments, like the increase in taxation on the inflow of foreign capital in Brazil and the interventions in the currency market by Colombia, Peru and several other countries, are not sufficient to contain the speculative attacks through currency trade.

Apart from the lack of competitiveness and the threat of deindustrialisation, the risk of the growth of speculative bubbles and the artificial growth of consumption, can lead countries in Latin America down the same path that ended up exploding into the international crisis.

New dependency in relations with China

Chinese growth, even during the height of the international crisis, was fundamental for the Latin American recovery. Latin American exports fell by 22.6 % in 2009, compared with the year before. The estimate for 2010 is a growth of 21.4 % in exports, propelled mainly by sales to Asia, especially to China.

Latin America’s trade with China leapt from US$ 10 billion per year in 2000, to more than US$ 100 billion today. There are estimates that China will overtake the European Union as the second biggest trading partner in the middle of this decade. Asia is already the main market for exports from Brazil and Chile, and second for Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba and Peru, as well as being the third for Venezuela.

In general, trade with China reproduces the old neo-colonial formula of “centre-periphery”, with Latin America exporting primary commodity products and importing industrial products. Far from representing a qualitative leap forward for Latin America in world economy, the growth in trade relations with Asia and especially China is repeating the process of “re-primarisation” (dependency on commodity goods) of the Latin American economies.

While in 1999, commodities represented 26.7 % of the total sales from Latin America, in 2009 they represented 38.8 % of the total. Brazil alone supplies 45 % of all soya imported by China, apart from being a source of other agricultural products and iron. In the first four months of 2009, while Brazilian exports to the US fell by 37.8 %, exports to China grew 62.7 %, turning it into the main market for Brazilian exports.

At the same time, since 2005, the trade surplus that Latin American countries had with China was reversed. Today, manufactured products compose 93 % of all Chinese exports to the region, negatively affecting the development of local industry.

If trade with China provoked a boom for the primary product exports from Latin America, on the other hand, it also accelerates deindustrialisation, as a result of competition with Chinese manufactured products. The character of growth before 2008 and the recovery in the end of 2009 is of a retrogressive character regarding the emancipation of the Latin American peoples and economies.

The growth of China in the international scenario does not automatically mean the opening of growth for Latin American countries. While Asia’s share of world trade leapt from 6 % to 23 % between 1980 and 2008, the participation of Latin America remained stable (from 4 % in 1980 to 5 % in 2008).

The limited attempt by some of the Latin American national bourgeoisies to take advantage of the opportunities opened up by the triangle of trade between Latin America, the US and China is far from representing a stable route for national and social liberation for the Latin American peoples. The “re-primarisation” of the Latin American economies is reflected in the strengthening of a dominating power bloc based on banks, agro-business and the export industry. There is no section of the bourgeoisie capable of breaking with this and assuming the leadership of a process of development on a national basis.

The role of US imperialism and threats of coups

The presence of China in Latin America, however, does not counterpose the historical role of US imperialism in the region. The weakening of the US in the face the crisis and the fiasco in Iraq and Afghanistan has opened up some margin for manoeuvre for national bourgeoisies in trade relations and permitted advances in struggle and conquests for the working class and oppressed people in some countries. The emergence of governments like Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales’ in Bolivia are expressions of the limitations of the power of US imperialism. However, Latin America continues to be of strategic importance for US imperialism, and it will not just abandon its efforts to impose its’ economic and geopolitical interests Latin America.

The military coup against Manuel Zelaya’s government in Honduras in 2009 represents an important warning. This was the first coup for years that succeeded in revoving a government. Moreover, the limits of the political alternative represented by Zelaya and the lack of a leadership for the mass movement, opened up room for diplomatic manoeuvres from US, seeking an agreement with Zelaya out of the presidency. Zelaya took refuge in the Brazilian embassy putting pressure on Lula to adopt a rhetoric different from US imperialism. Yet the Brazilian government discouraged any movement of the masses in the struggle and supported a negotiated agreement with the putschists.

The attempts at a military coup sponsored by US imperialism have been seen in several other countries in the region since the end of the 1990s. The coup against Chávez in 2002 was defeated by a mass movement. The coup attempts against Evo Morales in Bolivia was also defeated by popular, indigenous and workers resistance with elements of a civil war developing in the “Media-Luna”. In both processes, the radicalisation of the masses was channelled into the electoral field. Chávez won consecutive electoral victories. In the same manner, Evo won a sweeping victory in 2009, assuring re-election with 64 % of the votes.

The example of a victorious reactionary coup in Honduras had echoes in the more unstable countries of Latin America. In Paraguay, there were signs of a possible coup against Fernando Lugo. In Ecuador the threat of a coup returned, more recently, in a more concrete manner. The attempted coup was obstructed by the mass movement and by international pressure, especially from UNASUR.

In spite of the polarisation and coup tendencies that are always present, especially in the countries where the bourgeois democratic political regime is more fragile, this not the currently the dominant feature of the situation. In the majority of countries the balance of forces in society, still marked by the mass struggles of this decade, does not favour this type of intervention. From the point of view of imperialism, there is still the risk that the whip of counter-revolution triggering a revolutionary response that they would loose control of. The creation of UNASUR (with more autonomy from the US than the OAS) and its role as mediator in the conflicts of Latin America, especially by Brazil, proved to be a more efficient way of controlling social crisis. This is the main strategy for the Latin American ruling classes and imperialism at this conjuncture.

This assessment does not underestimate the role of imperialism. It is an evaluation that avoids committing the error of most of the Latin American left, to give unconditional support to any policies adopted by governments that come into conflict with imperialism. Many times, an exaggerated threat of a coup is used as a smoke screen to hide the limits of and capitulation to capitalism of governments like Chávez, Correa or Evo Morales. It is necessary to condemn putschist actions and remain alert to existing coup threats. However, it’s necessary to show that the best way to defeat to putschists is not by seeking conciliation with those sectors or lowering the programme and moderating anti-capitalist measures.

In spite of not basing itself only on putschist actions in the short term, US imperialism is promoting a low intensity war in some areas of Latin America. The US strengthened its military presence in Latin America. It has reactivated the Fourth Fleet to monitor the South Atlantic. It has organised joint military exercises with armies in the region. It has also established new military bases in Colombia and has plans for more in Panama.

The earthquake in Haiti in January of 2010 also indicated a new phase of US military presence in the region. The presence of UN troops in Haiti (Minustah) before the quake took the form of a foreign military occupation seeking to maintain by imperialism after the toppling of President Jean Bertrand Aristide. This action was not lead directly by the US but by Brazil together with other countries. This underlines the sub-imperialist role of Brazil.

Impasse in Venezuela and Bolivia

The dynamics of the political process in Venezuela are central for an evaluation of the balance of forces in Latin America. Chávez’s government has turned into an international political reference point for many of those who fight for alternatives to neo-liberalism and capitalism.

The impact of the international crisis in Venezuela was devastating and, in contrast to the majority of the other countries in the region, Venezuela remained in recession in 2010, with the prediction of a fall of GDP by 3%. The situation for workers was severely affected. The social crisis cleared the way for increasing urban violence that reached extreme levels, with many comparing the situation in Venezuela to Mexico.

In spite of the heightened socialist rhetoric, the high level of bureaucratisation and corruption involving sectors of the government is yet another factor that undermines the support for Chavismo. The wave of killings and attacks, with almost total impunity, against trade union leaders and activists that dare to struggle independently, shows the weight of bureaucratic sectors and bosses in the government. As we have explained in our material the process in Venezuela has “stalled” and support for Chavez is being eroded.

In the elections to the National Assembly, the Chavistas got a majority of MPs, but for the first time not the majority of votes. In a scenario of prevailing social and economic crisis, if the right wing succeeds in sustaining a united front in a situation of further erosion of support for Chávez, this could open up a real threat in the presidential elections of 2012. However, the internal conflicts within the right wing opposition and the lack of an established figure capable of unifying them in the election are factors that should not be underestimated.

Faced with the election results, the reaction of Chávez’s government was to radicalise the rhetoric and announce new nationalisations. In spite of that, the tendency is to a more open attitude towards negotiations with the opposition in the new parliament. The political sectors more linked to the so-called “bolibourgeoisie” (Bolivarian bourgeoisie), the right wing of Chavism, tend to seek a more conciliatory relationship with the opposition. The right wing opposition, however, is interested in a definite defeat for Chávez, aiming for 2012. This scenario points to the opening of a critical stage in the Venezuelan process, with an oscillation between radicalisation and capitulation before a strengthened right wing.

The key to the Venezuelan process continues to be the strength of the mass movement and the first signals of a process of recomposition of the workers’ movement in the last period.

The Venezuelan situation should serve as a warning to Bolivia. The government of Evo Morales and MAS got a large majority in the elections of December 2009 and April 2010. The vote for Evo and MAS reflected the desire of the masses to defeat the right wing putschists and intensify the economic, social and political changes. However, MAS hasn’t used the broad majority to make a clear advance in an anti-capitalist direction. The government continues to favour transnational companies in oil and mining sectors, and continues to confront workers’ struggle, like the recent miners’ and teachers’ strikes, etc. The elections of 2009 and 2010 already indicated the heightened process of degeneration and bureaucratisation of MAS and the sectors linked to the government. Following the style of Brazilian PT and Venezuelan PSUV, the bureaucratic leadership of MAS made alliances with the right wing and imposed the list of candidates from above.

In contrast to Venezuela, Bolivia could follow the tendency of recovery after the crisis of 2008-2009 based on the same model of state stimulus and exportation of primary products. However, with a worsening of the world situation and internal contradictions, the deadlock that Chavismo is experiencing today can be repeated on Bolivian soil.

If what prevails in Venezuela and Bolivia are illusions in a mixed economy or state capitalism, trying to conciliate public interests with those of the capitalists, the result can only be more crisis and the threat of deep setbacks in the countries that took a vanguard position in the struggles of Latin American the last period.

Capitalist restoration advances in Cuba

Cuba has not been immune from the global capitalist crisis despite still being dominated by a state owned and planned economy. The absence of workers democracy and planned economic integration on a genuinely socialist basis, at least in Latin America, makes the Cuban economy vulnerable and dependent on the international capitalist market. Cuba depends largely on international prices and demand for its exports (of products and services). The steep fall in nickel prices, for example, had a big effect on the Cuban economy. The recession affected the tourist industry of the island as well as remittances from Cubans abroad. For a country that has to import 80% of the food that is consumed and also depends on imported oil, the situation is becoming critical. Added to that is the devastating effects of the hurricanes of 2008.

The new measures from Raul Castro’s government aim to cut public expenditure through firing, in the first stage, 500,000 public sector workers, which will be followed by new dismissals of a further half a million in March 2011. If the target is reached, it will mean the dismissal of about 20 % of all Cuban workers. The government will stimulate those workers to find work in the non-state sector of the economy, encouraging private cooperatives, family businesses and even handing over state businesses to workers to administrate as private businesses. The new private businesses stimulated by the government will be able to employ wage earners. These steps towards capitalist restoration pose a threat to the continuation of the planned economy.These are steps towards capitalist restoration along the lines of the “Chinese road”.

This petit-bourgeois social base together with the pressure of the world market will tend to strengthen the sectors of the bureaucracy that assume more explicitly a position in favour of capitalist restoration in Cuba and the adoption of the Chinese path. The problem is that there are not the objective conditions to allow a repetition in Cuba of what capitalist economists regard as the Chinese “success”. A capitalist Cuba will be more similar to its neighbours in Central America than to China. This and the threat of the return of the “exiles” will mean this is an extremely complicated process and is not yet complete and will witness many zig-zags in policy by the regime. However, the tendency towards capitalist restoration, if it develops is bound to have an effect on political consciousness, especially in Latin America. We need to be aware of this and explain what is taking place and why as well as explain our alternative. Yet these tendencies towards capitalist restoration are taking place against the background of growing capitalist crisis and an ascendancy in the class struggle internationally and are entirely different to the conditions which existed at the time of capitalist restoration in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.

The path to confront the international crisis, Cuba’s isolation and to expand the achievements of the revolution, goes in the opposite direction to the one adopted by the Castroist regime. It is necessary to attain genuine workers’ democracy, where the management of the economy, the state and society flows from the direct participation by all workers, with ample democratic liberties for workers, and not from an almighty bureaucratic layer.

To break the isolation and smash the blockade, the solution is not simply to build relations with bourgeois governments of various countries. There is already a section of imperialism that understands that the best form to defeat the Cuban revolution is by lifting the embargo and integrating Cuba into the capitalist world market. Many capitalists already see the perspective for huge profits in that. The relations established with governments like the PT’s in Brazil can function as a mediator for private investments and business on the island. Instead of greater integration into the world market, the way out for Cuba is in proletarian and socialist internationalism, supporting revolutionary and anti-capitalist initiatives in Latin America and in the world.

The situation in the bastions of neoliberalism in Latin America

The most important Latin American country ruled by traditional neoliberalism is experiencing a profound economic, political and social crisis. The economic debacle in Mexico deepened the situation of severe social chaos, poverty and lack of perspective. A non-declared civil war involving narco-traffickers and the government, is taking place and reflects a social disintegration. The government has totally lost control of the situation in some regions.

This situation can spread to Central America, where the social situation is not much better, and also to Mexico’s northern neighbour, the US. The corrupt state in Mexico is totally incapable of offering any solution.

The government of Felipe Calderón of the PAN (National Action Party, right-wing) took office in 2006, succeeding Vicente Fox, also of PAN. The electoral fraud that led to the defeat of the candidate of the centre-left opposition, Andrés Manuel Lopes Obrador (AMLO), of the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution) provoked a strong popular reaction against the government. However, Calderón’s government survived the mass movement against the electoral fraud, strong trade union struggles and the uprising with revolutionary characteristics in Oaxaca in 2006. This was mainly due to the fragmentation of the movement and the lack of a powerful political left alternative.

Colombia, under the new President, Juan Manual Santos, continues to be a fundamental bastion for US imperialism. Santos adopted an attitude of national unity in search for more cohesion between the sections of the bourgeois and toned down the militarist and anti-Chavez discourse of his predecessor. He re-established relations with Venezuela and was even received by Chávez in Caracas. This change reflected the effects of the international crisis. For Colombia it is essential to regain trade relations with Venezuela - bilateral trade fell by 60 % at one stage- during the international crisis.

At the same time, the policy of domestic repression, neoliberal politics and alignment with the US remains. The Colombian state is controlled by a mafia that remains in power. The new government, however, in contrast to Uribe, is looking for a degree of collaboration with the governments of Venezuela and Ecuador in its actions to defeat the FARC.

Peru, with president Alan Garcia from the APRA operates, together with Colombia, as a privileged ally of imperialism in South America. After attacks on workers, peasants and indigenous people, popular opposition to Garcia only grew.

Chile now is among the countries governed by the more openly neo-liberal right, after the election of the billionaire, Sebastián Piñera, in January of 2010. This represents a setback for the working class. However, this does not mean that the new government represents a break with the policies of its predecessor, that of Michele Bachelet (Socialist Party) or the previous governments of Concertación. During two decades, Concertación implemented the neoliberal policies initiated during Pinochet’s dictatorship. The Chilean elections do not represent a turn to the right in society. It was the erosion of support for Concertación and the lack of a clear left alternative that cleared the way for Piñera in an election marked by abstention and protest votes. All of this in spite of a renewed upsurge of struggle from workers and youth in Chile after years of lull.

In many Latin American countries, the indigenous, agrarian and national questions, are now emerging as important social and political issues. The interests of the indigenous peoples are in conflict with the interests of the multi-national corporations which destroy their communities and the environment. The indigenous peoples are also in conflict with local governments which favour the multi-national corporations. The policies of the multi-national corporations means it is possible to build a socialist alliance between the indigenous peoples and the working class.

The new government has maintained its high levels of popularity due to the relative recovery after the crisis of 2008-2009. However, a good part of the recovery of Chilean GDP growth in 2010 represents the restoration of what was destroyed in the earthquake of February 27th and also the fall of GDP in 2009.

However, the main impact on public opinion came from the marketing manoeuvres of Piñera in the rescue of the 33 miners. In spite of Piñera’s marketing stunts, the repressive side of the government is exacerbating and the resistance against the government continues.

Brasil’s new role

Despite remaining a country exploited by imperialism and having reinforced dependency on the exporting of primary goods, Brazil, together with Mexico, is the most developed and industrialised economy in Latin America. Of the 500 largest Latin American companies, 226 (45 %) are currently Brazilian. Brazilian multinational companies are developing a substantial presence in the economies of the neighbouring countries and Brazil’s political weight is increasing. Petrobras accounts for 17% of Bolivia’s GDP.

This economic base is reflected in the political sub-imperialist stance by the ruling class in Brazil. Lula’s government stimulated an internationalisation of Brazilian companies and increased its political influence over other countries.

The situation in Brazil is crucial to the whole of Latin America due to its economic weight, but also because of the political weight of “Lulism” as a political alternative. Lula’s government is presented by sections of the ruling classes as an alternative to extreme neo-liberalism on one hand, and to “leftism” on the other. The role of Lula as as an international “firefighter” is also a factor that serves the interests of imperialism and the ruling classes in Latin America.

Along with the economic performance, the level of popularity of Lula’s government and the fact that he managed to get his successor elected, represents an important show of political strength that has turned into a reference point for other countries. The general elections in Brazil in 2010 were marked by a vote for continuity favouring the candidates of the coalition.

Dilma’s government will have a majority in the federal Chamber of Deputies and, in contrast to Lula, also in the Senate. This will make it easier for Dilma to govern, even if she does not have the same authority as Lula. At the same time, the different interests of big corrupt bourgeois parties like the PMDB, will provoke political instability. Lula will continue to play a central role in the coming period, even outside government. There is almost a consensus about the need for a brake on state expenditure in the next period. There is today almost a clamour from the bourgeoisie in favour of a new pension counter-reform, attacking mainly public servants, taking advantage of the present popularity of Dilma and so minimising opposition. In the same way, a hard fiscal adjustment will begin to be implemented.

The Brazilian working class was not paralysed by illusions in Lulism during 2010. Many struggles and strikes (civil servants and oil, metal and bank workers) mainly for economic demands took place and were relatively successful. Workers demanded their share of the economic growth.

The unity of trade union, popular and student movements, independent from the government and bosses, as well as the strengthening of a left political alternative in the country is essential for workers’ resistance. In 2010, almost two years of attempts to build a new trade union and popular Centre (federation) unifying Conlutas, Intersindical and other sectors ended without success.

In the political arena, the left also suffered some important setbacks and some advances. In contrast to 2006, this time there wasn’t any Left Front unifying PSOL, the PSTU and the PCB. PSOL experienced an intense internal struggle. After an intense internal struggle, Plínio de Arruda Sampaio, aligned with the left in the party, was chosen as PSOL’s presidential candidate. The delay from PSOL in presenting a left alternative together with PSTU’s sectarianism thwarted the possibility of a Left Front.

Plínio’s campaign grew in support among the more active and conscious layers of workers and youth. Plínio’s profile and political platform was more advanced than the one PSOL defended in 2006. However, the electoral wave supporting Lula and the PT was too strong, especially in the face of the possibility of a victory for the traditional right, Serra. This led to substantial drop in votes for PSOL.

Plínio’s campaign served the purpose of oxygenating PSOL and opened up space amongst layers of youth and workers. It also helped to get PSOL to adopt more advanced positions. However, the electoral result will strengthen a majority in the party with “moderate” positions. The party will probably hold a party congress in 2011 and the paper of LSR, CWI’s Brazilian section, calls for the strengthening a left pole in the party and a fight for a clear class and socialist programme for PSOL. Yet its’ future remain uncertain.

End of the K Era in Argentina?

Argentina continues to have an important weight in Latin America. The mass uprising in December 2001, the so-called Argentinazo, was a landmark in Latin American resistance to neoliberalism. These events have marked the political development of the country since then. The governments of Nestor and Cristina Kirchner, with their own contradictions and characteristics, were the direct result of the balance of forces that emerged from those mass mobilisations and the crisis facing the bourgeois alternatives. In the absence of a workers’ and popular alternative, the Kirchners occupied the political vacuum and, even if they made concessions to the mass movements, tried to offer some kind of stability for the bourgeoisie.

The death of Nestor Kirchner could represent one more element in the development of the political crisis in the country that was initiated during Cristina’s government, his successor. The CGT’s bureaucracy, an important base of support for the Kircheners, lost prestige after the assassination of Ferreyra, a fact that opens the way for a wing more to the right of Peronism that reflects sectors of the bourgeoisie that are unsatisfied with the excesses of Cristina Kirchner’s government.

The finance markets enthusiastically greeted the death of Nestor Kirchner, the president responsible for one of the biggest debt moratoriums implemented by any country. In spite of the economic performance of the last years, big financial capital preferred a more reliable political alternative, less pressurised by mass movements.

A socialist alternative for Latin America

After almost a decade of crisis for neoliberalism, the rise of mass struggle and construction of electoral alternatives in many countries, Latin America is at a crossroads. The limits of the Chavista alternative and the regression in Cuba, as well as the growing conflicts and contradictions in the countries governed by explicit neoliberals, like Mexico, tend to create illusions in moderate alternatives like Lulism. The reproduction of the Brazilian model seams as a way out, both from the alleged radicalism of Chávez as well as the pro-imperialist neoliberalism of Calderón. However, this is an illusion.

Lulism adapted well to a particular economic and political context. However, none of the fundamental contradictions of Brazilian capitalism have found a solution and new contradictions will emerge. As a pro-capitalist alternative, Lulism does not serve for the full emancipation of the workers and peoples of Latin America.

On the bicentenary of independence for many Latin American countries, the struggle for true liberation from imperialism and for social emancipation for the masses of workers, peasants and indigenous peoples, passes through the construction of socialist political tools with a mass base in the different countries and the unity in struggle against capitalism and imperialism. This is what the sections and national groups of the CWI in Latin America struggle for. In our programme we stand for the building of a Socialist Federation of the Latin American countries, that can build continent-wide integration on the basis of solidarity and cooperation, for the benefit of the exploited and oppressed masses. This is the only coherent alternative.

 

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