Luis Almagro, Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), recently announced his bid for another 5-year term at the helm of the world’s oldest and most influential regional organization. His re-election would be a major setback for good governance in the region. Hemisphere’s chief regional organization has been hobbled by pro-Trump leadership.
There’s no doubt that after the blue skies and sunshine of December 1st, there are already clouds on the horizon. But the role of an engaged citizen cannot be to simply cross your arms and watch the storm roll in while saying “I told you so”. Giving President López Obrador the benefit of the doubt is to replicate the old styles of rulers who demanded unconditional support for their actions and cloaked themselves in authoritarian power and self-praise. Seeing treachery before it happens ignores the need for facts-based judgement and closes doors.
The victory of the extreme right candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, in Brazil’s presidential elections and the fall of the Workers Party are having a profound impact on the rest of the countries of Latin America. These dramatic events require close analysis on the left to learn from what happened and avoid being shut out as an option for change, and to prevent further victories of the ultra-right.
The battle to stop the spread of extractive industries pits indigenous and peasant communities against powerful business interests, backed up by politicians who encourage the foreign investments that convert millennial ways of life into cash for them.