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The 2003 electoral victory of Lucio Gutiérrez in Ecuador was met with the same sense of optimism that greeted the election of Ignacio 'Lula' da Silva in Brazil, and Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Gutiérrez's victory was viewed as a major advance for the country in its 500-year-long struggle for freedom and democracy.
In Bolivia, Evo Morales similarly came within an electoral whisker of achieving state power in 2002, and in 2003 Nestor Kirchner became President of Argentina. Many journalists, academics and politicians speak of a 'left turn' in Latin America, characterizing these regimes as 'center-left'. They came to power on the promise of delivering a fundamental change of direction that would steer their countries away from neo-liberal economic policies, and towards greater social equity. Their success awakened major hopes on the Left for a new dawn in Latin American politics.
This book challenges these assumptions. It critically examines their agreements with the IMF, their social and economic policies, and the economic ties of leading policy makers, as well as the beneficiaries and losers under these regimes.
Latin America is unique in that it has experienced two decades of popular resistance to neo-liberal policies: each of the four countries examined here has a rich history of diverse indigenous and working-class movements coming together to promote radical political change.
The authors examine the political dynamics between the state and its agenda, and the strategy of mass mobilization taken by the mass movements. They explore the intensifying conflicts between the movements and their former allies in the state.
Dr. James Petras is Professor Emeritus in Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He is the author of numerous works on Latin America and global development, including Globaloney: el lenguaje imperial, los intelectuales y la izquierda (2000), Hegemonia dos Estados Unidos no Nova Milênio (2001) and Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001). He is also the co-author, with Henry Veltmeyer, of The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), Unmasking Globalisation (2001) and System in Crisis (2003).
Posted February 13, 2009
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