Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

New rifts in Latin America, but no confrontation

Posted in News and Articles by politicalrisklatam on August 17, 2010

by Raúl Zibechi for The Guardian, August 17th, 2010.

Social movements are increasingly unhappy at their governments’ continued use of outdated economic models.

The presence at the closing ceremony of the Americas Social Forum last Sunday in Asuncion, Paraguay, of Presidents Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, José Mujica of Uruguay and Evo Morales of Bolivia was not enough to rid one of the feeling that a rift was opening between the social movements and the left governments. One central theme of the forum, which took place from 11 to 15 August, was “the challenge of change”; it produced intense debate between the defenders of these governments and their critics.

In many of the sessions the social movements condemned the progressive governments on the grounds they were continuing with an economic model based on extractive industries such as opencast mining and the monoculture of genetically modified crops like soya and sugarcane for fuel. The debates focused on the “commons”, such as water and biodiversity, which continue to be appropriated by multinationals, undermining the food sovereignty of the people.

The grave humanitarian situation in Haiti seven months after the earthquake, and the abuses of human rights in Honduras a year after the coup d’etat, were pushed into the background by the revelations by Paraguayan peasants of the violence they face daily in the north of the country, now controlled by the military on the pretext of the fight against a supposed guerrilla organisation called the EPP (Paraguayan Popular Army). At the end of April, Lugo imposed a 30-day state of emergency in five departments, and shortly afterwards the parliament passed an antiterrorist law that even the military considered far too wide ranging. (continue reading… )


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