Gustavo Petro gestures during his swearing-in ceremony at Plaza Bolivar, in Bogota, Colombia August 7, 2022. Photograph:( Reuters )
WION Spotlight: The new left wind now sweeping Latin America has brought to the fore the promise of radical change in Colombia with the election of Gustavo Petro as president
The leftward shift in South America that gained momentum in 2021, with right-wing politicians being worsted in presidential elections in Peru, Chile and Honduras, continues its sweep in 2022.
Colombia, famous for its coffee and the novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez, has for long remained under right-wing regimes that enjoyed a cosy equation with Washington. Some of these regimes were terrible dictatorships which forced people like Marquez, best known for his One Hundred Years of Solitude to live in exile out of fear of being killed by state-sponsored mafia elements.
(Even when Marquez accompanied Cuba’s Fidel Castro to the Non-Aligned Summit in Delhi in 1983 he feared that public exposure could endanger his life. Reports were that Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had wanted to meet Marquez and requested Castro to arrange it).
The new left wind now sweeping Latin America has brought to the fore the promise of radical change in Colombia with election of Gustavo Petro as president. This marks the end of a long conservative era in Colombia; and, this is the twelfth free and fair national election in the continent to have unseated incumbents in office. Colombia now joins the legion of South American states that are ‘socialist’, and socialist states, notably, Venezuela in recent years have been Washington’s targets for regime change.
However, the war in Ukraine saw the US making overtures to countries to which it was hitherto hostile.
Venezuela, where Washington has sought to oust President Nicolas Maduro since his election in 2019, is now being wooed for its petroleum.
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Does this mean the US will hold off on regime change for a while, if only in Latin America?
How the US adapts to the change of political direction dictated by the growing inequality, economic breakdown and terrible deprivation inflicted by the Covid pandemic in large swathes of South America would be a matter of worldwide interest.
The author is an Editorial Consultant, WION TV.
(Disclaimer: The views of the writer do not represent the views of WION or ZMCL. Nor does WION or ZMCL endorse the views of the writer.)
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