Perceptions Regarding Leftist Governments in LA

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Perceptions regarding the growing presence of leftist governments in Latin America

Brasil – President Lula da Silva

Venezuela – President Hugo Chavez

Argentina – President Kirchner

Uruguay – President Tabare Vázquez

Bolivia – President Evo Morales

Perú – President Alan García  

Upcoming elections:

Nicaragua – Daniel Ortega?

Costa Rica – Oscar Arias

The new politics of Latin America are now more leftist than any other persuasion.  However, lest we think this is a simple issue of fighting a cold-war soviet-style communism, the matter in reality is multi-faceted.  James Painter of the BBC states:  “The key issue is whether the recent left-wing trend in the region will continue, and if so, what will be the likely nature of any new left-leaning government. Will it be of the President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela variety or of the moderate President Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva of Brazil variety? Mr Chavez is a "21st-Century socialist", who is strongly anti-President Bush and anti-private sector (since the beginning of 2005), and enjoys close ties with Cuba and Iran. Lula, on the other hand, is fiscally cautious and market friendly, pursues macro-economic stability, tries to help the poor within that model, and is a serious negotiator on the world stage. Chile, Argentina and Uruguay are also currently ruled by left-leaning governments of the moderate variety.” (James Painter, BBC Latin America analyst, “Latin America faces year of change”) 

So we come to the conclusion that there is no “Latin American Left”, but rather a pluralization of leftist tendencies in all its diversity and colors.  However, several recent elections have thrown a “monkey-wrench” into the leftist takeover – the reelection of Uribe in Colombia, the almost sure election of Calderón in Mexico and the surprising come-back of a moderately leftist Alan García in Perú, tend to swing the pendulum back somewhat.


China is also becoming increasingly interested in the continent's national resources and "the Europeans risk getting run over."

However, what is of special interest to those who are aware of China’s long-term strategy to take over control of the world’s most strategic seaways is that the Chinese have moved, in recent years, to significantly penetrate the sea gateways to the south of the United States within the Caribbean.  (Max Henninger, May 12, 2006 “EU perplexed by Leftist Latin America”)

The other item of interest in this whole scenario is China’s move into the control of airports in addition to seaports. Most of the Chinese takeover of the world’s sea-gates has been via the front company Hutchinson Whampoa. It is significant that this outfit, declaring prime allegiance to the Communist Chinese government, purchased a controlling interest in the Grand Bahama International Airport, making it the largest privately owned airport in the world. It appears that Hutchinson Whampoa, having now largely sewn up global seaport control, is now intent on aggressively seeking increasing control of the movement of air cargo by raising its investment in strategically located airports that operate as major freight hubs. That this move by China has encountered no resistance from the U.S. or its allies is tantamount to their economic suicide! If China continues in this vein, either alone or, as with the msc deal, in consortium with the EU (with Japan more than a bit player), the prospect of these nations allying in a deliberate effort to frustrate Anglo-American trade, or to even threaten to close down the U.S. economy in any future time of conflict between the Anglo-American and the EU-Oriental trade blocs, will become a much more immediate, rather than a far-off future reality. Much of this is happening right now even right under America’s nose within its Caribbean basin and Latin American underbelly!

It does not take much imagination to project a future scenario within which global EU corporatism, allied to a rapidly rising China in possession of the world’s major sea-gates, supported by Japan with the second-greatest navy in the world, could, should it ever become strategically convenient for such an alliance to form in resistance to the Anglo-Americans, literally lay siege to those nations!  (Ron Fraser, April 26, 2006, “China´s Caribbean Strategy”)

Are we listening to what the leaders are saying?

These quotes have been taken from article “Latin America Swings Left”, The, August 2006 by Mark Jenkins.

The new Bolivian president, Evo Morales, used the slogan “Long live coca, death to the Yankees” in his election campaign last year and has dubbed President Bush a terrorist.

President Chavez has made a point of putting his friendship with Castro in the public eye and painting the U.S.—especially its president—in the most wretched colors possible; a typical pronouncement: “The imperialist, genocidal, fascist attitude of the U.S. president has no limits. I think Hitler would be like a suckling baby next to George W. Bush.” Here is another: “Jesus was the first socialist, and Judas the first capitalist. Chavez has also, according to the Washington Post, “bashed the United States on the al-Jazeera television network and traveled to Libya to receive an award from Moammar Gaddafi” (March 15, 2005). He has openly supported Iran’s nuclear program, saying to the Iranian leadership: “Faced with the threat of the U.S. government against our brother people in Iran, count on us for all our support” (ibid.). If a country is an enemy of the United States, it is a friend of Hugo Chavez.

The converse is also true: Washington’s allies are Chavez’s foes. Earlier this year, he called Tony Blair a “pawn of imperialism” and described him as the “main ally of Hitler”—meaning President Bush.

During the Summit of the Americas in November, the anti-American Kirchner boasted that in his private meeting with President Bush he would “win by a knockout.”

Candidates in countries such as Ecuador and Nicaragua “will compete to be seen as the most anti-American”.

The New York Times called George W. Bush “the most unpopular president ever among Latin Americans.”

Questions we can ask ourselves:

1.  What is the information?  Are we aware of what is happening in Latin America?  Can I develop a chart for each country?  Perhaps the scale could be one to ten – with number one being the extreme left and number ten being the extreme right.  There is no right or wrong number.

2.  Why is it important to be up to date with this information?

3.  How would this affect:

            3.1  me personally as a missionary

            3.2  our mission, the work I do

            3.3  the national church, my city, my nation

4.  What do I need to do about each of the above levels?

            4.1  At each level what is the diagnosis (the symptoms and problems developing)?

            4.2  At each level what is the prognosis (the implications)?

            4.3  At each level what is the prescription (what do we do about it?)

5.  What are my contingency plans at each level?

            5.1  Am I prepared personally? Have I asked God how much time I have?

            5.2  Have I delegated responsibilities?  Will my work fail if I must leave?

            5.3  What can I teach my students to help them cope?  How do I contribute to equipping the church so that it will stay healthy?

As teachers we are responsible to warn, to support and to equip our students and the fellow-ministers around us.

Recommended reading:

La Utopía Desarmada by Jorge G. Castañeda, Editores Tercer Mundo, 1995.


Compiled by:

Judy Graner, Colombia

August, 2006