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Latin America shifts to the left

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Latin America shifts to the left


Chavez in Venezuela, Lula in Brazil, Morales in Bolivia, Vasquez in Uruguay and in Chile, Bachelet.

Election after election, nation after nation, Latin America is shifting to the left.

In Peru, presidential hopeful Ollanta Humala is the frontrunner in the first round of the vote.

These varying shades of red could end up controlling 80 % of Latin America.

In under a decade, Venezuela, Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Bolivia have all swung to the left. Peru’s vote is next month.

But it is not all peace and harmony despite these seemingly similar political ideologies.

For example, between Hugo Chavez and Lula de Silva, the two visions of the left do not always see eye to eye.

On the one hand, there is the more radical Venezuelan populist approach that spurns all relations with the US.

The other is that of left of centre Brazil which seeks to be a key player in a globalised world.

Lula is furious after Bolivia’s surprise nationalisation of its gas reserves earlier this month.

As the nation’s biggest gas client, he had expected more consultation.

Chile’s Michelle Bachelet is also up in arms. Her country’s supplies are also sourced from Bolivia.

And then there’s Uruguay’s Tabare Vasquez.

He is involved in free trade negotiations with the US and is even said to be considering leaving Mercosur – South America’s common market.

On the other side of this left-wing coin, Peru’s Humala has said that if elected he would sign up to the Alba trade pact that joins Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia and seeks to counter US influence in the region.

As Morales signed the deal, he said it signified a triple revolution for Latin America.

Alba is the brain-child of Hugo Chavez – it allows him to help communist Cuba by supplying it with oil.

And, as the controversial pact attracts potential new signatories, it is throwing light on the political fault lines of Latin America’s increasingly divided left.

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