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2021: The Year Latin American Socialism Made a Comeback

From Chile and Bolivia all the way through to Nicaragua and Honduras, 2021 was a bad year for the cause of freedom across Latin America.

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Socialist ideas, candidates, and governments have once again prevailed in elections across Latin America in the year 2021, threatening the reemergence of the notorious “Pink Tide” that swept the country at the turn of the 21st century.

In 2018, this writer wrote about “The Crash of the Pink Tide” as socialist candidates were defeated across the continent. Fast forward to 2021, and many of those advances have now been reversed.

El American takes a look at some of the historic defeats experienced by lovers of freedom and the political right in Latin America over the course of the past year.

Venezuela

Another year, another year of the Maduro regime in power. Venezuela’s socialist nightmare will seemingly never end. In November, the regime held another series of sham elections widely criticized by observers as fraudulent, although this time with the blessing of the socialist “opposition.”

Inevitably, Maduro’s ruling United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV) swept races across the country, winning 20 out of 23 governorships, as well as control over the Caracas capital district.

Chile

As the centrist Sebastian Piñera finished his second term in office, many Chileans were hopeful that conservative firebrand Jose Antonio Kast would sweep to victory in the country’s presidential election, similar to Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro back in 2018. Unfortunately, Kast made it through the first round only to be soundly defeated by socialist candidate Gabriel Boric, who represented a left-wing coalition that included the Communist Party of Chile.

A former leader of the University of Chile Student Federation, the 35-year-old Boric will become the world’s second-youngest state leader, second only to San Marino’s Giacomo Simoncini. As part of his proposed program, Boric has pledged to cement the changes to the Chilean constitution forced through in 2019 designed to undermine the country’s free-market system. Despite being a fervent critic of the United States and describing Israel as a “genocidal and murderous” state, Boric has indicated some willingness to push back against the most flagrantly abusive leftist regimes.

During his campaign, he expressed the view that just as the left must “condemn the violation of human rights in Chile during the dictatorship, the ‘white’ coups in Brazil, Honduras and Paraguay, the Israeli occupation of Palestine, or the interventionism of the United States, we must from the left with the same force condemn the permanent restriction of freedoms in Cuba, the repressive government of Ortega in Nicaragua, the dictatorship in China and the weakening of the basic conditions of democracy in Venezuela.”

Nicaragua

Similar to Venezuela, the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua continues to consolidate power through coercion, repression, and the rigging of elections. In November, dictator Daniel Ortega declared victory on Monday in a presidential race denounced by the head of the Organization of American States (OAS) as the “worst election possible.”

This included the arrest of all potential opposition candidates, a ban on reputable election observers, and widespread reports of violence and intimidation. The result was applauded by the likes of the Maduro regime and the Cuban Communist Party,

Ortega’s socialist Sandinista Front of National Liberation (FSLN) has controlled the country for nearly the entire past 40 years after successfully ousting President Anastasio Somoza Debayle in 1979. He took an official break from power after losing a free election in 1990, but returned to power in 2007 and has refused to hold free and fair elections ever since.

Bolivia


Following his victory in Bolivia’s election last year, President Luis Acre has returned the country to the status quo before Evo Morales’ resignation in 2019 following widespread allegations of voter fraud. In March, former interim president Jeanine Añēz, who oversaw the democratic transition and the organization of free and fair elections following Morales’ resignation, was arrested by the regime in a politically motivated prosecution.

She has since been accused of “terrorism” and faced torturous conditions while in prison, forcing her to undergo a hunger strike and leaving her health in perilous condition. Just last week, her family claimed that said that the 54-year-old was “attacked and beaten” by a police officer while incarcerated in Miraflores Prison in La Paz.

Arce’s administration has also dropped all previous charges of terrorism, crimes against humanity, and pedophilia against Morales stemming from his threats to organize violent attacks against civilians and the discovery of a birth certificate of a child born to Morales and a minor.


Peru

In an unbelievably close contest, communist Pedro Castillo prevailed against Keiko Fujimori by around 0.26 percent, equivalent to around 40,000 votes, marking her fourth unsuccessful presidential bid. A school teacher by trade, his party Peru Libre is an openly Marxist organization whose manifesto praises Vladimir Lenin and Fidel Castro.

The 52-year-old continues to claim he is not a communist despite being a member of a Leninist party and his extensive ties to leftist regimes around the world. During the campaign, his running mate Dina Boluarte even warned that a victory would mean that Lima’s middle class would “cease to be.”

Honduras

In the Central American country of Honduras, leftist Xiomara Castro was elected as the country’s first female president. The 62-year-old, who is the wife of former President Manuel Zelaya and is understood to have close ties to Venezuelan Chavismo, has pledged to lead “a reconciliation government” in a country plagued by violent crime, drug trafficking, rampant corruption, and large-scale migration to the United States.

Argentina

Despite the success of libertarian Javier Milei in regional elections, the left-wing administration of Alberto Fernandez remains in place in Argentina. To compound matters, the country’s Congress passed a law legalizing abortion up to 14 weeks, leaving many pro-life activists dejected after a years-long battle with feminist campaigners.

Brazil

Although the conservative government of Jair Bolsonaro remains in power in Brazil, the outlook currently looks bleak. With former President Lula Da Silva released from prison following his conviction in the Operation Car Wash corruption scandal, he has taken a commanding lead ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Meanwhile, a recent poll found support for Bolsonaro had fallen to below the 20-percent mark, while his net approval ratings are negative in almost every relevant demographic.

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