Will Left change Latin American political landscape?

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The swearing of the new Left wing Bolivian President Luis Arce on November 8 following the massive victory of the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) in the general elections on October 18 signals a fresh shift in the politics of Latin America towards pink tide after the right wing dominance in the last few years. The significant aspect of the big victory of the MAS in Bolivia was that this was achieved despite the absence of the former President Evo Morales who was ousted by a combined collaborator coup of military and Trump administration late last year and the continuous anti-MAS propaganda by the big corporate controlled media in both Bolivia and the neighbouring countries. The mandate was so sweeping that the right had to abandon its earlier plans for sabotage and conceded the defeat. New President Arce is an economist by training and in his inaugural address he promised to establish his links with the other left wing forces and governments in Latin America and to fight the anti-democratic moves by the right wing parties to devalue the constitutional rights.

Arce is quite aware of the mammoth tasks of reconstruction of the battered economy and how the people are looking at him for rejuvenating the economy and improving the living standards of the underprivileged. In Chile, the Left has won a resounding victory in October 25 referendum for a new constitution and this victory signals the coming together of the democratic forces in Chile including both centrists and the left who are united for bringing a new constitution which calls for radical change in the laws of the land in favour of the common people. Similarly in Brazil, the Workers Party led by former President Lula is in the thick of the struggle against the rightwing President Bolsonaro whose popularity has dipped to the lowest ebb while Lula, though in prison due to the machinations of the ruling government, is high in popular esteem. The movement for freeing Lula has reached its peak and this has got international support also. The Left in Brazil is now confident of getting Lula back as their leader as a free man soon and that will impart a new dimension to the battle of the Left against the present Bolsonaro regime.

The victory of the Democratic Presidential candidate Joe Biden by defeating Donald Trump in the November 3 elections, has also added to the confidence of the Left of Latin America in pursuing their goals. Even if Biden follows Obama policy in Latin America, that will be far more favourable to the Left that the course which Trump administration followed. In sum, the situation for the Left in Latin America is better compared to pre-2018 but earlier also, the Left had a dream run in the first decade of this century but that did not continue. In this third decade of the 21st century, there is another challenge to Left in Latin America. Much will depend on the capability of the leadership as also the intensity of the mass movements and the willingness of forming broader unity of anti-right forces. The Left has to seize this new opportunity for changing Latin American political landscape.

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