The Latin American Revolt, An Introduction

Published on Monthly Review, by John Bellamy Foster, Volume 59, Number 3, July-August 2007.

3 excerpts: The revolt against U.S. hegemony in Latin America in the opening years of the twenty-first century constitutes nothing less than a new historical moment. Latin America, to quote Noam Chomsky, is “reasserting its independence” in an attempt to free itself from centuries of imperialist domination. The gravity of this threat to U.S. power is increasingly drawing the attention of Washington. Julia Sweig, Latin American program director at the Council on Foreign Relations, argues that the twenty-first century is likely to be known as the “Anti-American Century,” marking a growing intolerance of the “waning” U.S. empire. Outweighing even the resistance to the U.S. war machine in Iraq in this respect, Sweig suggests, is the political realignment to the left in Latin America, which, in destabilizing U.S. rule in the Americas, offers a “prophetic microcosm” of what can be expected worldwide …


… Today’s Latin American independence movement is thus an attempt to overturn neoliberalism forced on Latin America by the United States and the other advanced capitalist states (enforced by the IMF and the World Bank). As Morales stated, “The cause of all these acts of bloodshed [against the exploited population], and for the uprising of the Bolivian people, has a name: neoliberalism.” The nature of this struggle necessitated a radical revolt against U.S. imperialism and capitalism, and against the internal relations of exploitation that have arisen in this context. Leadership in the revolt was therefore assumed mainly by anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist, indigenous, and socialist forces. Class and other social struggles continue in all of these countries, and there are considerable tensions between nations. Nevertheless, there are also rising signs of a new Latin American solidarity …

… The most important guarantee for the future of Latin America under these circumstances is the growing solidarity of its peoples—and the growing solidarity of all the world’s peoples with Latin America—in order to prevent further U.S. interventions. Evoking the spirit of nineteenth-century Latin American revolution, Chávez declared before the United Nations:

We fight for Venezuela, for Latin American integration and the world. We reaffirm our infinite faith in humankind. We are thirsty for peace and justice in order to survive as a species. Simón Bolívar, the founding father of our country and guide to our revolution swore to never allow his hands to be idle or his soul to rest until he had broken the shackles which bound us to the empire. Now is the time to not allow our hands to be idle or our souls to rest until we save humanity.

But while the hands of those who resist the shackles of empire must never be idle, those in the United States and throughout the world who believe in Latin America’s struggle for free human development must insist that the hands of the empire itself be restrained. Hands off Latin America! (full long text).

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