Labour and Latin American Sovereignty – Dr Francisco Dominguez


“The left has elected presidents in Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras, Peru, Chile, and now in Colombia, but… is still subjected to hostile acts of aggression by the US and its Atlantic accomplices, including the UK.”

By Dr Francisco Dominguez

Since independence in the 19th century, Latin America has been struggling to develop a system that is inclusive, democratic, socially just, free from racism, discrimination, colonial and imperialist exploitation, and poverty; and that upholds all human and social rights.

The achievements of The Pink Tide

With the election of Hugo Chavez in 1998 in Venezuela, the continent went through a decade of social progress and democracy. The Pink Tide transformed Latin America’s political complexion and saw the electoral victories of indigenous leader Evo Morales, radical economist Rafael Correa, left wing Peronists Ernesto Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez, metal worker Lula da Silva and former political prisoner Dilma Rousseff, and Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega in Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Brazil, and Nicaragua respectively.

During that golden decade, regional poverty declined from 48% to less than 26%. Key natural resources were nationalised and the revenues used to improve people’s living standards. Illiteracy was eradicated in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Bolivia (and was being tackled in other countries). Education and health care were vastly expanded and provided free of charge, with four million free eyesight-restoring operations performed by Cuba and Venezuela. Women entered politics and the economy in massive numbers. Heavily-subsidised transport and housing were developed, with four million houses built for the poor in Venezuela; and dozens of universities created, including the first ever indigenous universities. Racism and all forms of discrimination were institutionally combated and dozens of indigenous languages were granted official status New regional and independent institutions were established. And much, much more. This was made possible by the state controlling key economic levers and resources, and playing a pivotal role in the national economy.

Labour must oppose US attacks on national sovereignty

The US and its Atlantic accomplices have sought to undermine our national sovereignty by both demonising left wing government as ‘authoritarian’ or ‘dictatorial’ while capitalising on the economic woes generated by the 2008 world crisis. This led to the ousting and/or electoral defeat of the left in Honduras (2009), Paraguay (2012), Argentina (2015), Brazil (2016), Ecuador (2017), and Bolivia (2019). Additionally, the US imposed a raft of nasty sanctions on Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, whilst trying to violently oust their governments.

The left has elected presidents in Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras, Peru, Chile, and now (June 2022) in Colombia, but although the region is entering into a Second Pink Tide it is still subjected to hostile acts of aggression by the US and its Atlantic accomplices, including the UK.

Labour must oppose US interference in Latin America. It must demand not only the immediate and unconditional lifting of all sanctions against Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela but also that the gold held illegally by the Bank of England be returned to its rightful owners, Venezuela. Labour must campaign for the UK to stop subordinating its foreign policy to that of the US in ‘its backyard’. It must constructively engage with Latin America’s progressive governments. And it must defend our right to live in peace so we can build the prosperity of our peoples in a better world.

  • Dr Francisco Dominguez is academic and a specialist on Latin America’s contemporary political economy, He also the National Secretary of the Venezuela Solidarity Campaign, and former refugee from Chile’s Pinochet.
  • If you are in Liverpool for Labour Party Conference or The World Transformed you can join Dr Francisco Dominguez at the Labour Friends of Progressive Latin America fringe event – “¡Viva la solidaridad! Latin America’s Left Leads the Way” on Monday, September 26th at 6.30PM.
  • Originally published in the Campaign for Labour Party Democracy’s Campaign Briefing 2022. Further information is available here.
Featured image: President Gustavo Petro then mayor Bogota, en lala Plaza de Bolívar Jan 23rd 2014. Photo credit Gustavo Petro Urrego/Flickr under Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)

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