Counter-Hegemonic Bloc Strengthening, Not Weakening, in Latin America

Some important steps forward for equality as Evo Morales kicks off his second mandate in Bolivia, putting into practice the gender equality targets set in the new constitution he pushed for.  While many governments push for some sort of gender floor, few achieve such high representation or what scholars  like Jill Vickers have identified as a critical mass (which might not be 30%, 50%, or even 60%) necessary to balance the representation in legislatures to actually represent issues affecting women.  Morales has gone further, while he has more than doubled the amount of seats in the legislature for women (from 22 to 46), he has appointed the first female Labour Minister, half his cabinet are women, and a third of those women are indigenous social activists.  Amidst hordes of slander from the opposition, the far right in Latin America, and also the world over, Morales was re-elected in a landslide victory with 64% of the popular vote.  The victory is not his though, it is the product of generations of struggle of the Bolivian women’s movement and indigenous movement.  When he was first elected, everyone was counting down the days until his government collapsed, it seems for now, they are wrong.

The new bloc in the region seems to be strengthening rather than weakening, with Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, the recently returned Jose Ortega of the Sandanistas in Nicaragua, and ever resilient Cuba.  If the US decide to be less destructive in Latin America under President Obama (I’m not holding my breath) we may yet see a very interesting institutionalizing of the still developing counter-hegemonic movement in regional politics.  Caribbean countries (ex: Grenada, Jamaica) have been the practicing ground for US imperial interests throughout the Cold War as they ‘perfected’ their strategies in Latin America (ex: Chile) and then prepare the strategies for export to the Middle East and Central Asia, might find their voice once more and start practicing a politics that speaks to their domestic needs rather than having to shield themselves from coups backed by the US.  (Sadly, Canada is no longer free from this criticism, as we have been very much involved in the ousting of democratically elected President Aristide and one of our Flagship NGOs, Rights and Democracy, has helped pave the way for the installation of the current regime.)  Interesting politics is brewing in Trinidad & Tobago as well, though speculating as to whether it will amount to any form of meaningful social change would be premature at this point.


~ by bahtman on February 11, 2010.

One Response to “Counter-Hegemonic Bloc Strengthening, Not Weakening, in Latin America”

  1. What worries me is that I think 2010 will finally be the year that the US goes after Chavez full-throttle. Given America’s long history of assassination in Latin America, I simply cannot see them tolerating him in power for much longer. This will be the year they make a move, now that Colombia (more accurately, Uribe) has fully bent over and allowed the US to insert its ramrod of military might oh so deeply.

    I’m calling it. I’m not saying Chavez goes in 2010, but we’ll at least see a significant ramping up of rhetoric a la pre-Iraq invasion, or pre-Guatemala, or pre-Nicaragua, or……..

    I just hope he finds a way to overcome it and not fuck it all up with his big mouth.

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