Venezuela & ALBA Weekly 7.15.2022: New Wave of Progressive Latin American Governments; Venezuela’s Economy

The New Wave of Latin American Progressive Governments

Resumen Latinoamericano: The Pink Tide Surges in Latin America Prospects for hemispheric progressivism again began looking bullish with Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s (AMLO) victory in July 2018 after two previous attempts at the Mexican presidency, which were widely considered fraudulently stolen from him. A left turn by the second largest economy in Latin America, eleventh in the world, and the US’s second largest trading partner was not insignificant after decades of conservative rule. AMLO, whose MORENA party swept the 2018 national elections, has since shown fortitude in standing up to Washington. Argentina, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, Honduras followed, adding to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua. China has become the region’s largest creditor and second-largest trading partner after the US. China’s trade with Latin America and the Caribbean grew 26-fold between 2000 and 2020.

TeleSur: The Two Waves of Latin American Progressive Governments The new progressive governments do not claim to confront the capitalist system but rather the effects of the impoverishment and marginalization it produces.The second wave has been dominated by countries that never fell under the influence of the first, such as Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico, Gabriel Boric in Chile, Jose Pedro Castillo in Peru, and Gustavo Petro in Colombia.

It is also worth mentioning that the first wave had its climax when the ex-bishop, Fernando Lugo, won the elections in Paraguay in 2008. However, the following year after a coup d’état ousted Manuel Zelaya from the Presidency in Honduras, the decline of the first wave started. This wave could be considered to have brought to a definite end after Dilma Rousseff’s impeachment in Brazil in the year 2016.After the decline of the first wave these integrationist projects stagnated or even disappeared. The alternative regional integration organizations are not in yet on the list of priorities of the leaders of the second wave, who are mainly focused on their domestic agenda. The new leftist governments have moved towards the center regarding the political spectrum, in what could be explained as a consequence of the global drift to the right followed in the Western democracies.

CEPR Sanctions Watch, May-June 2022 Economic sanctions have become one of the main tools of US foreign policy, despite little proof of their efficacy, and widespread evidence that they often target civilian populations, with lethal and devastating effects. Though now a key part of US policy-making, and a defining feature of the global economic order, sanctions, and their human costs, as well as violations of treaties to which the United States is a signatory, receive relatively little attention in most US media outlets. A look at US sanctions on:Afghanistan, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela.

 

Venezuela

Venezuelanalysis: Parliament Passes ‘Special Economic Zones’ Law in Bid to Court Foreign Investment The bill is the latest effort by the Maduro administration to attract foreign investment to drive economic recovery as the country remains targeted by wide-reaching US sanctions. “Beyond dogmatically rejecting strategies, we should look at examples like China and Vietnam, the challenges, limits and counterweights they had to impose when they partially opened their markets to foreign capital,” he explained, adding that China was able to capitalize on special economic zones to boost public policies.

In the past four years, the Maduro government has sought to reverse the country’s economic fortunes by turning to increasingly liberal prescriptions. Measures have included the lifting of price and forex controls, tax breaks, labor deregulation and transferring state assets to private businesses.The economic program succeeded in bringing runaway inflation under control, while higher oil production and market prices were key for the country’s GDP to increase by 4% in 2021, the first registered economic growth in seven years. Multiple forecasts predict double-digit growth in 2022. However, a sustained recovery remains hampered by the US’ coercive measures.

Sputnik News: ‘It Takes a Lot of Work’: Ex-Trump Adviser Bolton Says He’s ‘Helped Plan Coups D’Etat’ After mocking the view that Trump tried to carry out a coup, Bolton spoke in defense of the practice of carrying out coups in other countries and underscored the complexity involved after Tapper argued that it does not require brilliance to attempt a coup d’etat.

“I disagree with that as somebody who has helped plan coups d’etat – not here, but you know, other places – it takes a lot of work,” Bolton said.

Venezuelanalysis: Oil Output Stagnates Despite Export Surge, Chevron Continues PDVSA Talks June oil output stood at 706,000 barrels per day (bpd), falling behind May’s 720,000 bpd and April’s 721,000 bpd. For its part, Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA reported 727,000 bpd, below the previous month’s 735,000 bpd. Despite the production slide, Venezuelan exports bounced back with the country shipping an average of 630,500 bpd of crude and fuel in June. The number represents a 61 percent increase compared to May, when sales reached their lowest level in 19 months, reported Reuters.

 

Cuba

TeleSur: ‘Cuba for Peace’ Celebrates Victory Over Destabilizing Acts “If there is something to celebrate today, it is the victory of the people against the attempts to carry out a soft coup,” President Diaz-Canel stressed. “The Cuban Revolution is the dignified and heroic people who resist and create; the people who resist the hatred of a genocidal blockade that has lasted over 60 years; the people who respond by creating a work of love every day. Cuba for peace…In our national essence, feelings, and identity, we have a very great antidote to hate: it is love…Amid an ideological and political aggression, which is based on a cultural colonization strategy supported by a ‘media war,’ we continue to develop with love and putting a lot of faith in ourselves.”

Global Health Partners: Help Send Life-Saving Medical Supplies to Cuba An urgent drive to send scarce anesthesia machines and sutures to Havana’s main trauma surgery hospital, the Calixto Garcia Hospital, which has 23 operating rooms, but just two working anesthesia machines. The hospital’s dedicated medical staff needs to perform more than 50 lifesaving surgeries each day, but lacks the equipment to treat all these patients.

US Political Prisoner Ana Belen Montes Ana Belen Montes was a Pentagon intelligence analyst who, opposed to the plans of aggression against Cuba being developed, felt morally obliged to alert the Cuban government of said plans. Her actions were uncovered and she was accused of high treason, a crime punishable by death. She was forced to negotiate with the prosecution and to plead guilty to espionage on behalf of Cuba. In 2002, she was sentenced to 25 years in prison, a sentence she has been serving under extreme and inhumane isolation.

Nicaragua

Kawsachun News (Latin America Review): Report on Nicaragua’s renewed relationship with China Camilia Escalante’s excellent interview with Michael Campbell, Minister Advisor to the President for International Relations 

TortillaconSal: Daniel Ortega: “Imperialism is falling and the world’s Peoples are emerging from its tombs, the world’s Peoples are being born again, those Peoples are uniting and exercising true Democracy in the World, for Peace, for Justice, for Freedom”

 

Events and Delegations

Wednesdays: WTF is Going on in Latin America & The Caribbean with Teri Mattson

July 16: Los Angeles Medical Aid for Cuba Fundraiser

July 24: Reporting Back: Celebrating the 43rd Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution

July 25: ¡Viva la solidaridad! Latin America’s Left Leads the Way

Travel to Venezuela with Code Pink October 7-17

 

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