The American Bear


Latin America's message to the Arab world | Pepe Escobar

Egyptians may not know that it took Brazilians no less than 21 years to get rid of a military dictatorship…

Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose - except a lot of time. In Brazil, real democracy was advancing just as it was smashed by the 1964 military coup - actively supervised by Washington. The coma lasted for a long two decades.

Then, in the 1980s, the military decided to dub their snail-pace “transition” towards democracy as “slow, gradual and secure” - secure for them, of course. But it was the street - Tahrir Square-style - that finally turbocharged it.

The strengthening of democratic institutions took over a decade - including a presidential impeachment for corruption. And it took another eight years for a president - the immensely popular Lula, whom Obama revered as “the man” - to open the way for Dilma [Rousseff].

So the road was long until one of the most unequal countries in the world - ruled for centuries by an arrogant, rapacious elite who only had eyes for the wealthy North - finally enshrined social inclusion as essential to national politics.

The progress in Brazil was parallel to many other parts of South America.

A partial climax was reached this past week, when the new Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (known by its acronym in Spanish, CELAC) met in Caracas. CELAC started as a flaming idea for the emergence - in a new world-system, as Immanuel Wallerstein would have put it - of an integrated Latin American nation, based on justice, sustainable development and equality. Two men were instrumental in the process - Lula and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Their vision convinced everyone from Uruguayan President Pepe Mugica - a former guerrilla leader - to Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, a banker.

So now, amid the agonic crisis across the Atlanticist North, Latin America surges with the possibility of a real “third way” (forget the Tony Blair variety).

While Europe - dictated by the God of the Market - is engineering the further impoverishment of its own people, Latin America accelerates its push for increased social inclusion. read more →