The entry into office, Sunday, August 7, of Gustavo Petro, the first left -wing president elected in Colombia, confirms the political tilting of the region. These new leaders nevertheless stand out from their predecessors who arrived during the “pink wave” of the 2000s.
“After two hundred and fourteen years, we have managed to have a government of the people, the government of people with callers, people who are on foot, of those who are nothing!” It is by this Vibrant speech that Francia Marquez, the vice-president elected on June 19, celebrated the first victory of the left in Colombia, historically governed on the right. A country that does not do things by halves: Gustavo Petro, who will take office on August 7 at the head of the State, has been a guerrilla in his youth bonus – over thirty years – and Francia Marquez is a Black activist, feminist and ecologist, from the popular social movement and of modest origin.
Their election constitutes a symbolic rupture in this deeply uneven and racist country, where anti-communism and the fear of Castro-Chavism, fueled by the persistence of armed movements and the economic collapse of Venezuela, remain alive.
And, while waiting to know if the candidate of the workers’ party, Lula, will be elected in October in Brazil, she confirms the switch to the left of the region, after Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, the Peru, Honduras and Chile.
“We are witnessing a second progressive and left alternation which echoes a first wave in the early 2000s”, notes Stéphane Witkowski, president of the strategic guidance council of the Institut des Hautes Études in Latin America . What we had called the “pink wave” had seen, in the wake of the election of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in 1999, those of Lula in Brazil, Nestor Kirchner in Argentina, Tabare Vazquez in Uruguay, D ‘ Evo Morales in Bolivia, from Michelle Bachelet to Chile, from Rafael Correa to Ecuador. Before the return of a conservative, even reactionary right, in the mid -2010s.
The attention paid to the environment
“This new progressive wave is explained by the 2019 social movements and the general dissatisfaction with neoliberal policies that have excluded large sections of the population,” said César Rodriguez Garavito, professor of law at New University York and co-author of the book La Nouvelle Left in Latin America (2005, not translated).
Unhappiness reinforced by the health crisis linked to the pandemic, which has further dug inequalities – extreme poverty passed in the region from 13.1 % to 13.8 % between 2020 and 2021, “a decline in Twenty-seven years “, according to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the UN Caribbean. For Maria Victoria Murillo, director of the Latin American Institute of Studies at Columbia University in New York, it is “more of a wave of dissatisfaction and a victory of oppositions than a wave left “.
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