Source: La Santa Mambisa
March 12 2018
by Alfredo Serrano Mancilla
(Translated by Keith Ellis)
The contest in Latin America is no longer primarily electoral. The conservative rollback has other mechanisms that are not necessarily the ballot box. The chosen route is almost always something else. Each case is different: it all depends on the country in question. They use one tool or another depending on the scenario and on what tools are available.
Each context determines the method of intervention chosen to block or eliminate the progressive forces. If they still have control of the Judicial Power, that path is used to proceed against them. If what they enjoy is Legislative Power, a parliamentary coup is what is resorted to. And always, wherever it may be, Economic Power and the Power of the Media act in unison. The first will use all its weapons to disrupt whatever economic and social equilibrium has been achieved; and the second will undermine the image with falsehoods or fake news that end up being part of the destructive common sense. And from this list of powers the Power of the “International Community” is never missing, for it is always ready to apply all the possible forms of pressure to delegitimize progressive options, whenever they can, or legitimize undemocratic options that are suitable for their interests.
- In Brazil, the stupid judicial excuse they are putting forward shows that they are clearly not going to allow Lula to take part in the elections. Before that, they had already removed Dilma from the presidency, by means of a parliamentary coup using the ridiculous pretext of “fiscal manipulation.” Judicial and Legislative Powers, together with Economic and Media Powers, and with the power of international complicity, are all combined for a “win” without them having to go through polls. Temer governs as a democrat despite not having to present himself as a presidential candidate.
- Ecuador, a different scenario and different methods. Correa’s successor was used to prevent his party, the “Revolution of the Citizenry,” from continuing in power. Thanks to a pact between the current president Lenin and the old democratic party, there was an agreement made, without consulting the Constitutional Court, that had the sole objective of preventing Correa from participating in a new presidential contest. Thus, a new model: the rollback from within. The opposition took part in the elections and lost. But that was no obstacle to its winning the political battle, thanks to the resentment—of Lenin and of a certain part of his party—against Correa. The banking sector and all the media joined the new rollback consensus with the intention of ending the progressive cycle embodied in the figure of Correa.
- In Argentina, there was quite a notable communicational and economic onslaught, but the electoral route was sufficient to put an end to the Kirchner period. The opposition had an advantage: Scioli, her successor, not Cristina, was the candidate. The opposition just barely won. And then quickly brought on judicial arrests, open trials, biased press coverage. It is still too early to know how the presidential dispute will turn out in 2019. But if it is necessary to prevent Cristina, or any other potentially winning candidate, from contesting the election, let no one doubt that the attempt will be made to do it in a judicial or parliamentary way.
- In Venezuela everything is being amplified. The latest development has been the most evident: the opposition has definitely decided not to participate in the elections. It has thus demonstrated that it has no interest in the electoral route for achieving political power. In fact, in this country, in 2002, an orthodox coup d’état was attempted; a running unconventional coup has been tried, along with a sustained high-intensity economic war (via prices and shortages); there has been violence in the street causing many deaths; social uprising has been tried in order to overthrow the president; there have been US decrees, threats and a blockade; the whole gang has been deployed (OAS, European Parliament, Lima Group, Mercosur, Country Risk, International Banking). And now, finally, they have the idea of not participating in elections. Strange democrats these, who do not believe in democratic rules when they anticipate losing. The interesting thing about this case is that in Venezuela, the current government is fully aware that the field of dispute is as much in the electoral as in other areas. And this allows Maduro to be a “survivor” in this new phase.
- In Bolivia,something similar happened. The recall referendum was obstructed by a reality show that hurt the popularity of Evo. The heavy artillery will come ahead of the presidential election in 2019. However, the president has understood for some time, since the attempts at democratic interruption at the stage of the Constituent Assembly, that this dispute is multifaceted. It does not mean that it will be easy, and everything is possible from now on. But so far, Evo aims to be the other “survivor” to this rollback onslaught. He has overcome the last great obstacle: finding the legal mechanism that would allow him to stand for re-election. He was aware that, because of it, he would be criticized, but he preferred this to putting in jeopardy the continuity of the project. It was a wise decision to continue moving forward with the approval of the Bolivian people.
We are definitely facing another historical phase of the 21st century in this “Contested Latin America”. The electoral aspect counts, but it is not the only path chosen in order to end the progressive cycle. Some have always known it, and others have learned it by having suffered it in their own experience. The field of political dispute is more and more complex: votes are necessary, but so are economic, media, legislative, judicial and international power. And military power, although it seems a matter of the past, we should never ignore it, because it is always more present than we imagine.