The rebellion against neoliberalism is growing in Latin America. This struggle is pushed forward by the struggle in Venezuela. Neoliberalism means: one, privatizing industry and government services, two, removing protective tariffs, and three, cutting government spending.
After years of neoliberalism being imposed on Latin America by the US, Latin America has the most unequal distribution of wealth in the world. At present, 222 million live in poverty, 90% of Blacks and indigenous live in the worst poverty. The foreign debt is $782 billion, about $1300 a person.
These worsening conditions are feeding a rise in the struggle that is now pushing back the US. First, by the continuing victories of the Bolivarian revolution, which have inspired the continent. Second, the strengthening of the Cuban revolution, which is now back on its feet. Third, by the failure of neoliberalism to provide solutions, even for the bourgeoisie. Fourth, by the advances in the peoples struggles.
The struggle in Latin America has taken two forms. First, leftist parties and governments are finding openings in the electoral area to challenge the ruling class (Brazil, Venezuela, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile). Second, massive peoples struggles have broken out – in Bolivia, Ecuador.
The governments in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay are softening the IMF policies inflicted on their countries, but are not challenging them. They play the role of traditional Social Democratic governments. None is questioning the bounds of the capitalist system, nor their place in it. Only in Venezuela has the government done this. It is relying more and more on the power of the working people.
Only one country has suffered a serious defeat in the last few years: Haiti. There, the US conspired with France to overthrow the democratically elected government. The movement of Aristide, the Lavalas movement, survives, but its leadership has been beheaded. Several 1000 people have been killed over the past year.
Arrests, assassinations and fear are shutting down the movement. Now the UN forces and the Haitian police and military are enforcing the brutal and bloody rule of the rich over the poor.
And in this country we can see the difference between Argentina, Brazil, Chile with that of Cuba and Venezuela. The first 3 have sent troops to Haiti to enforce US-UN rule, upholding the coup d’etat. Venezuela and Cuba have maintained an anti-imperialist course. Chavez still recognizes Aristide as the legitimate president of Haiti, and notes that what happened to Aristide happened to him himself in 2002. Cuba has sent doctors, not soldiers to Haiti, to help the poor.
On the other hand, Cuba has set the model how to resist, for the whole world. Cuba has resisted US threats for 45 years. The basis for its strength lies in it being a country run by working people, with capitalists and its representatives having been basically eliminated. Cuba also combats US threats by attacking the precursor of military attacks: the US trying to create a climate of public opinion in favor of intervention. The precursor to any attack is winning international opinion, or at least domestic opinion.
Cuba has taken the US to task in various international forums. It has asked the UN to condemn the US blockade of Cuba, which it does year after year. It has organized many international forums against neoliberalism over the past 20 years. Now, Cuba on the UN Human Rights Commission is taking up the issue of Guantanamo base, which it has rightly called an “international torture center.”
Cuba prepares itself for US attack. It has armed and trained its whole population to fight, both in a regular war and in a guerrilla war. Recently they organized major defense exercises in which millions participated.
Cuba has always resisted US imperialism and has aided other revolutions. The most outstanding case of this was their support Angola and the defeat of the apartheid army.
However, with the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1991, Cuba had to focus on mere survival, while the US greatly tightened its screws on Cuba. Cuba turned to tourism and opened itself up to foreign investment in order to survive.Concentrating on survival, by itself, confronting US imperialism, made it very difficult for Cuba to make much of a contribution in the struggle against imperialism, except as an example that another world, a socialist world, is still possible.
Now the Cuban economy is back on its feet, enabling Cuba to start taking back concessions it made to capitalism in the 1990s.And, with the victories of Chavez in Venezuela, now with the new trade agreements with China and Venezuela, Cuba along with Venezuela will play a greater continentwide and worldwide struggle against imperialism.