The times of a certain ultra-conservative hegemony represented major setbacks for Latin America and the Caribbean in terms of the fight against poverty, inequality and climate change.
Repression and human rights violations were the common denominator of these governments’ “response” to social movements and actors who were only clamouring for more social justice and environmental protection.
But today the left is coming back. There are examples where progressive forces have come together from diversity, agreeing on the fundamentals, negotiating on the secondary, to move forward together. The progressives of the world have a duty to look to Latin America with interest in order to continue building more democratic and just societies.
For several years we have been talking about the weakening of democracy, the loss of trust in institutions, the disconnection between politicians and the people.
The new generation that is arriving wants to give back to politics all the strength that should characterise it, and to give young people the possibility not only to dream. The programmatic slogan of the French left shortly before the 1981 election was “Changer la vie” (change life). That is what it is all about, changing the lives of millions of citizens.
This is the direction in which the new progressive governments in the region are calling us. To exercise politics with empathy and concrete measures, developing public policies in line with the needs of all. This, without underestimating the social movements, supporting them and with a listening ear.
It is true that progressive governments find themselves in an adverse economic context and an uncertain and unstable global scenario. This is a very different stage from what analysts called the “won decade”, a time when left-wing governments coincided with the bonanza period due to the rise in commodity prices at the beginning of the 2000s. It is also true that our times call us to be alert to attempts by certain actors to fabricate “fake news” in order to cause confusion and undermine our democratic systems.
A common voice
Once again, we can observe a convergence of ideas at the regional level. A useful political synergy to lay the foundations for sustainable integration. Integrating and rebuilding a common voice in the international arena will be in the interests of the peoples of the region.
This means giving new impetus to regional initiatives, with political force and collective decisions, without forgetting to reinforce instances of exchange and work hand in hand with civil society so that it can empower itself and identify itself with the integration processes.
It is not possible that every election puts at stake the progress that has been made. Political, economic and cultural integration is undoubtedly the best ally to curb those who seek to normalise poverty, inequality, violence and attempts to return to authoritarianism.
Latin America and the Caribbean are not condemned to continue with open veins. The future of the next generations cannot be compromised by climate inoperability, inequality and conflict.
The arrival of Gustavo Petro in Colombia and Gabriel Boric in Chile, and soon – we hope – that of Lula in Brazil, are good news to be able to face the multiple challenges facing the region. Many of us identify with the words of the President of Chile when he said at the Palacio de Nariño that “the Latin American heart is beginning to beat”. PL
(Translated by Cristina Popa – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay