Latin America needs a new world order
Mural in the hall of the House of Arts of the University of Concepción, Chile. — Backlash
THE world wants to see an end to the conflict in Ukraine. NATO countries, however, want to prolong the conflict by increasing arms supplies to Ukraine and declaring that they want to “weaken Russia”. The United States had already allocated $13.6 billion to arm Ukraine. US President Joe Biden has just requested an additional $33 billion. By comparison, it would take $45 billion a year to end world hunger by 2030.
Even if negotiations take place and the war ends, a true peaceful solution will probably not be possible. Nothing suggests that geopolitical tensions will diminish, since behind the conflict over Ukraine lies an attempt by the West to stop China’s development, to sever its ties with Russia and to end partnerships China’s strategic relationships with the Global South.
In March, the commanders of US Africa Command, General Stephen J Townsend, and Southern Command, General Laura Richardson, warned the US Senate of the perceived dangers of increased Chinese and Russian influence in Africa as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean. The generals recommended that the United States weaken the influence of Moscow and Beijing in these regions. The policy is part of the United States’ 2018 National Security Doctrine, which defines China and Russia as its “central challenges”.
No cold war
Latin America does not want a new cold war. The region has already suffered from decades of military rule and austerity policies justified by the so-called “communist threat”. Tens of thousands of people lost their lives and tens of thousands more were imprisoned, tortured and exiled just because they wanted to create sovereign countries and decent societies. This violence was the product of the Cold War imposed by the United States on Latin America.
Latin America wants peace. Peace can only be built on regional unity, a process that began 20 years ago after a cycle of popular uprisings, driven by the tsunami of neoliberal austerity, led to the election of governments progressive: Venezuela in 1999, Brazil in 2002, Argentina in 2003, Uruguay in 2005, Bolivia in 2005, Ecuador in 2007 and Paraguay in 2008. These countries, joined by Cuba and Nicaragua, have created a set of regional organizations: the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Treaty in 2004, the Union of South American Nations in 2008, and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in 2011 These platforms aimed to increase regional trade and political integration. Their gains have been met with increased aggression from Washington, which has sought to undermine the process by attempting to overthrow the governments of many member countries and splitting regional blocs according to Washington’s interests.
BECAUSE of its size and political relevance, Brazil was a key player in these early organizations. In 2009, Brazil joined Russia, India, China and South Africa to form BRICS, a new alliance with the aim of reshaping the power relations of trade and world politics.
Brazil’s role did not sit well with the White House, which – avoiding the crudeness of a military coup – staged a successful operation, in alliance with sectors of Brazil’s elite, which used the legislature , the judiciary and the Brazilian media to overthrow the president’s government. Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and to provoke the arrest of President Lula in 2018, then leading the polls in the presidential election. Both were accused of a corruption scheme involving Brazil’s national oil company, and a Brazilian justice investigation known as “Operation Car Wash” ensued. The involvement of the US Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation in this investigation came to light following a massive leak of Operation Car Wash’s lead prosecutor’s Telegram conversations. However, before American interference was discovered, the withdrawal of Lula and Dilma from political life brought the right back to power in Brasilia; Brazil no longer played a leading role in regional or global projects that might weaken American power. Brazil has abandoned UNASUR and CELAC, and remains in the BRICS only formally – as is also the case with India – weakening the prospect of strategic alliances from the Global South.
IN RECENT years, Latin America has seen a new wave of progressive governments. The idea of regional integration is back on the table. After four years without a summit meeting, CELAC met again in September 2021 under the leadership of Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Argentinian President Alberto Fernández. If Gustavo Petro wins the Colombian presidential election in May 2022 and Lula wins his campaign for re-election as President of Brazil in October 2022, for the first time in decades, the four largest economies in Latin America – Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, and Colombia — would be governed by the center-left, including supporters of Latin American and Caribbean integration. Lula said that if he wins the presidency, Brazil will return to CELAC and resume an active position in the BRICS.
The Global South could be ready to re-emerge by the end of the year and to carve out a place for itself in the world order. Proof of this is the lack of unanimity that greeted NATO’s attempt to create the largest coalition to sanction Russia. This NATO project has caused a backlash in the southern hemisphere. Even governments that condemn the war, such as Argentina, Brazil, India and South Africa, do not agree with NATO’s policy of unilateral sanctions and prefer to support negotiations for a solution. peaceful. The idea of reviving a non-aligned movement — inspired by the initiative launched at the conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955 — resonated in many circles.
Their intention is correct. They seek to defuse global political tensions, which threaten the sovereignty of countries and tend to negatively impact the global economy. The spirit of non-confrontation and peace of the Bandung Conference is urgent today.
But the Non-Aligned Movement emerged as a refusal by Third World countries to choose a side in the polarization between the United States and the USSR during the Cold War. They fought for their sovereignty and the right to have relations with the countries of the two systems, without their foreign policy being decided in Washington or Moscow.
This is not the current scenario. Only the Washington-Brussels axis and its allies demand alignment with their so-called “rules-based international order”. Those who do not align suffer from sanctions applied against dozens of countries, devastating entire economies, such as those of Venezuela and Cuba, from the illegal confiscation of hundreds of billions of dollars in assets as in the cases of Venezuela, from Iran, Afghanistan and Russia, invasions and interference resulting in genocidal wars such as in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan, and external support for the “color revolutions” from Ukraine in 2014 to Brazil in 2016. The request for alignment only comes from the west, not from China or Russia.
Humanity now faces pressing challenges, such as inequality, hunger, the climate crisis and the threat of new pandemics. To overcome them, regional alliances in the countries of the South must be able to institute a new multipolarity in world politics. But the usual suspects may have other plans for humanity.
CounterPunch.org, May 11. Marco Fernandes is a researcher at Tricontinental: Institute for Social Research. He is a member of the collective No Cold War.