Saturday, August 21, 2010

Brazil and Venezuela: Two Turning Point Elections this Fall

Two elections in Latin America this fall will have decisive importance in the direction of economic and foreign policy for the coming decade.

By James Petras


The coming elections in Brazil and Venezuela will have a decisive impact on Latin American politics, economic policy and relations with the US throughout the second decade of this century. If Brazil “goes Right”, it will immeasurably strengthen US influence in the region,and eliminate an independent voice. Even as neither candidate will put a foot forward toward greater social justice, the election of Lula’s preferred candidate Dilma Rousseff will proceed toward greater Latin American integration and a relatively independent foreign economic policy. Her election will not open the door to any consequential structural changes.

A victory for the Venezuelan Socialists will strengthen Chavez’s resolve and ability to continue his social welfare polices and his anti-imperialist and pro-integration policies. Chavez’s strong stance in opposing US militarization, including the coup in Honduras and the military bases in Colombia, embolden center-left regimes to adopt a somewhat more moderate but principled position opposing militarization. Chavez’s socialist reforms in Venezuela serve as a pressure on center-left regimes to legislate social reforms, promote poverty programs and joint ventures, instead of following the neo-liberal policies of the pro-US hard Right. In Brazil the question is voting for the lesser evil, in Venezuela it is a question of voting for the greater good. "

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