Right turn in Latin America

The return to democracy in Latin America, after a cycle of military dictatorships in the 1960s and 1970s, was accompanied by frenzied neoliberalism: lower wages, lifting of customs barriers, privatization of public services with, as a consequence, a fall in inflation, but above all an increase in poverty, unemployment and inequalities and a rejection of neoliberalism.

A series of popular rebellions led to the crisis of neoliberal hegemony, which resulted in what has been called a “pink wave” at the ballot box, starting with Hugo Chavez’s victory in Venezuela, in 1998. One after the other, the governments of Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Paraguay have passed to the left. This “cycle” lasted between ten and twenty years, depending on the country. Relying on an “extractivist” model and on the boom in raw materials to finance their social assistance policies (thanks to which 70 million people have been lifted out of poverty in ten years), progressive governments have not however resisted. the attrition of power, the global economic downturn from 2008 onwards, or the fall in the price of commodities.

The defeat of Peronism in Argentina in 2015 and the rise to power of the center-right government of Mauricio Macri marked the end of this hegemony of the Latin American left, giving way, in almost the entire region, to more conservative regimes, through the ballot box or through more or less legitimate institutional processes.

Sources: C. Chabert, “Latin America, right away! »Mindthemap.fr, 2017; IMF; World Bank, Transparency international, The Observatory of Economic Complexity; Human Development Report, UN; The world

Cartography carried out with the help of Olivier Compagnon, professor of contemporary history at the Institute of Higher Studies of Latin America (Sorbonne-Nouvelle University)

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