- Created: Sunday, 20 September 2009 15:14
- Written by Alvaro Michaels
The US and British invasion of Iraq, trapping US forces and helping to push up oil prices, has created a window of opportunity for Latin America’s revolutionaries and long oppressed masses. Cuba, Venezuela and Bolivia are opening the road to profound social change for millions of people, and by so doing they are challenging US hegemony on the continent.
The Honduran elections in November 2005 started a year of polling throughout Latin America. With a dozen presidential contests and 13 legislative elections, the class struggles throughout the region present a new and major challenge to US and European imperialism. So far this challenge has been either superficially portrayed by the European press as an electoral swing to the left, or misrepresented as a destructive ‘populism’.
Years of long and bitter struggles have been waged by the workers and peasants of Latin America to obtain basic democratic rights. Aggressive US intervention for over a century has had severely damaging consequences throughout the region, creating mass poverty and wholesale misery. More recently, from the mid-1960s to the 1990s, the US promoted state terror against the working class and peasantry in all these countries: imposing unserviceable debt and then demanding the subsequent privatisation of state assets as repayment. The accumulation of capital is the accumulation of misery in Latin America and the Caribbean. Last year alone saw a rise in ‘official’ regional unemployment of 1.3 million – half the global increase – with 15-24 year olds three times as likely to be unemployed as adults. In Latin America 23 million workers have no jobs while 103 million work ‘informally’. Workers, a high proportion driven from the land, end up as casual labour, in petty trading, crime, prostitution and despair. A huge, poverty stricken reserve army of labour constantly grows in size. This total of 126 million is expected to grow to 153 million in ten years.