Latin America is today a volcano about to explode. The worsening of the general crisis of the system is directly reflected in the economical, political and social situation of the continent.
In the last 20 years the number of poor people in Latin America has increased from 120 to 230 million - more than 100 million are indigents - out of a total population of 517 million inhabitants distributed in 36 countries. The exploitation of the proletariat and the people's masses has reached intolerable levels supported by the maintenance of the semi-feudal landownership in all the Latin countries.
On the other hand, this is the material base on which recent people's rebellions have developed in Latin America, a prediction of some other larger and more overwhelming class confrontations that will certainly explode very soon.
A broad anti-imperialist feeling has been developing and the yankee imperialism and the puppet governments are the centre of its attack. Submitted to a growing spiral of hunger, misery and repression the masses rebel motivated by the firm Iraki resistance and resistance in some other parts of the world against the imperialist invasion. This proves once more that the peoples, when organise themselves and struggle, can defeat their class enemies.
Because of such an explosive situation, mostly in South America, yankee imperialism has been forced to change its plans. And even guaranteeing their permanence in Irak they are obliged to change the axis of their attacks in the Middle East towards Latin America, since - as a consequence of the general crisis - the economical crisis on different Latin countries have created serious social crisis and successive political crisis without any perspective of solution for the problems that threaten its domination.
The imperialism offensive headed by Bush has taken the contradiction with the nations and oppressed people to an incredible level. Because of that and the general systemic crisis of capitalism the anti-imperialist contradictions are becoming more acute although apparently they try to display an unquestionable domination of the USA. On disputing new markets and raw materials, South America has become an important target for the new investments for the financial capital where China and the European imperialism attempt to establish profitable commercial relations. With this picture and in face of the huge and insoluble crisis, the safety of the hegemonic imperialism is intrinsically related to the need of a complete dominion of Latin America.
In fact USA has imposed FTAA - Free Trade Agreement of America; it threatens Cuba and begins to prepare a plan for a possible aggression to Venezuela. Besides installing military bases in several Latin America countries as Ecuador, Peru, Paraguay and Colombia plans to install itself at the Triple Frontier of Plata which includes Brasil, Argentina and Paraguay.
As Venezuela - their second biggest oil supplier - is off their control, the conditions of their crisis have aggravated more as the largest world oil consumer. Chavez' criticism to USA have been utilised as a pretext for a future intervention since a possible confrontation with Venezuela is part of a group of yankees' strategies after Irak's.
The internal Venezuelan reaction has politically had big defeats though keeping important economical stances as well stances in the means of communication. Chavez however counts on the people's support and he is enlarging the army with the organisation of militias. He ventures in the articulation of an international support and in alliances with Europe, China and Russia as well.
Nevertheless the central problem of the continent - before this objective situation of deep crisis and perspective of explosion of new and more radical people's rebellions for the peoples liberation - is the strong influence of opportunism and the lack of a proletarian leadership to indicate the revolutionary way for building the new Power.
The large masses in Latin America have already lived different experiences including the armed struggle. But their leaders have capitulated and nowadays nearly all of them are involved in electoralist disputes for the management of the old States in their countries. Opportunism continues shamelessly speaking on socialism while being a devoted servant to imperialism. Because of that Daniel Ortega, from the Frente Sandinista of Nicaragua, has been accused recently - by an ex- Nicaraguan guerrilla - to have transformed himself from anti-imperialist into a capitalism craftsman.
And with the crisis overflowing all over Latin America, the election of many presidents considered as 'left-wing" has been the general tactics used by the ruling classes and imperialism to deactivate the social explosion in the region where at any moment a flame can ignite the prairie. Lula, Kirchner, Bachelet, Evo Morales, Tabare Vasquez, Nicanor Duarte, Alejandro Toledo are, all of them, pro-imperialists; Chavez has an anti-yankee stance.
The Brazilian case is a very representative example of this general picture. Despite the official publicity campaigns inform that Brasil is an economically emergent country, this is not true. According to World Bank data Brasil is among the five countries with the worst wealth distribution in the planet; there are 40 million landless poor peasants or with little land and 60 million of miserable people; among them 40 million live " below the poverty line".
In 2002, because of the worsening of the bureaucratic capitalism crisis in Brasil the fight between the local ruling classes has aggravated too, permitting the PT (Workers Party) electorialist front to elect Lula. And Lula, as soon elected, started consolidating his alliance with the big bourgeoisie implementing the monetary, tax and cambial programme dictated by IMF, whose objective is the payment of the foreign and national debt around 800 billion dollars.
Lula has used for that a primary surplus around 5% of the Brazilian GNP that amounts to 700 billion dollars. Likewise he used only 4% of the GNP in education; he maintains the interest rates the highest in the world, 17% a/a, he paid our IMF debts with IMF and Paris Club; he did the reforms required by IMF that the previous governments were not able to do - as for instance the pension reform which was a hard blow to the retired people's rights. Now he is implementing the university reform in accordance with the World Bank with the goal to privatise the public education.
In a sort of insane attitude Lula said in a recent National PT Congress that he was the president who did more for the workers in the whole world history! In fact, instead of defending the interest of the working class in general he tries to fulfil a unionist and labouring reform to divide and destroy the combative trade-unions, to finish with the few union liberties and to make flexible the still existing union rights. In the meantime he keeps the minimum wage in 155 dollars and the freezes the public officials salaries who have not had any increase for 12 years. Unemployment during his government has reached the official rate of 12%; the real unemployment rate reached 20%. Misery and hunger have grown while Lula give alms to the poor accomplishing programmes of compensatory policies prescribed by imperialism and that they call "income distribution".
Lula paralysed the precarious agrarian policy adopted by Fernando Cardoso and intensified the concentration of the land property; he stimulated the land speculation and continues financing the agro-business for seed exporting. In the countryside violence has increased a lot; only this year more than 100 peasants have been arrested; among them leaders and militants of the peasant movement according to data from the government.
Lula participated in the FTAA as a co-president at the side of Bush. By obeying his orders he sent Brazilian troops to Haiti. Lula's government intervene on the political crisis of the neighbouring countries as Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela with the North-american embassy to deviate people's rebellions to the opportunist side.
Different in their forms, the 'left-wing' governments of Latin America follow the same manual. In Bolivia the election of Edo Morales has not meant as well a solution for peoples' problems because what supports him is the maintenance of the same system. Morales, with his government programme named "Andean-Amazon Capitalism" tries to neutralise the fears of the Bolivian industrialists, to keep the people's support and tranquillise the yankees with his proposal of a capitalist way out for the country's crisis. But the radicalisation level of the last rebellions in the country shows the decision of the Bolivian masses to promote deeper transformation and not only change the old State manager. Nowadays the contradictions have been developing in Bolivia and the masses - mostly the Indians - and the pro-imperialist oligarchies are in growing shocks. The country is in the way of a civil war.
The same in Ecuador; the peasant masses went back to the streets for revindicating their rights. In Uruguay, the population rejects Tabare Vasquez's government and his policy submitted to IMF which paid in advance 230 million dollars concerning the foreign debt. In Argentina the factory workers, unemployed and retired people keep fighting Kirchner's government. In Paraguay, with the failure of Nicanor Duarte's government, the opportunists prepare the candidacy of a catholic bishop, a liberation theology follower. However there is in Paraguay a growing people's movement led by the Peasant National Front of Paraguay which defends a revolutionary way out.
In Chile, the 'socialist' president, Michelle Bachelet, has broken her electorialist commitments less than a month after the election. Among other anti-people measures she has conditioned the increase of the assistance pensions to the increase of the Rate of the Aggregated Value, one of the highest in Latin America. Her administration has been creating protests and a great frustration in the masses that have elected her.
In Peru the first presidential election turn has displayed, quite clearly, the people's rejection to the demagogism and electoral farce. More than 30% of abstentions have been registered; the masses have rejected the process disputed by corrupt and genocide candidates.
On the other hand, though the people's war in Peru has stepped back, it has been the most important revolutionary movement in the continent and in its whole history. Before the perspectives of explosion of new and more radical rebellions, this experience of the Peruvian masses will be decisive in the development of the classes struggle all over the world and especially in Latin America.
In Colombia the masses keep struggling against the reactionary State.
But as said before the mistakes of the leadership of the peoples' fights in Latin America, along the years, have caused grave defeats. Revisionism, opportunism, reformism, pacifism and electorialism within the revolutionary and communist movement have been a serious problem in our history. The greatest challenge for the revolutionaries, the authentic anti-imperialists and particularly the communists nowadays is to unmask opportunism rising the revolutionary energy of the masses through a correct programme, form and method of organisation of the struggle under a proletarian leadership.
Presently, when imperialism has to, again, adjust its tactics for maintaining its dominion, its way is of militarization and fascism in the continent. Fascism is the policy of imperialism for facing acute crisis in the metropolis and it is the policy to be permanently applied in the colonies and semi-colonies. For that it utilises clear fascist regimes or dissimulated forms in pseudo democratic orders which are nothing but sophisticated versions of the same fascism.
The role of opportunism in the management of the old State, at the service of imperialism, is to sell the idea of existence of a 'democracy' while exploiting and suppressing the broad masses. Although it tries to have a different image when defending the 'bourgeois institutions' , the 'parliament' , the 'press freedom', the 'human rights', the 'citizenship', its action is of a total intolerance.
However the crisis of imperialism is deep and irremediable. And the flame of revolution is rising in Latin America, with the support of the experiences acquired by the development of the class struggle all over the world and learning with the mistakes and triumphs that have occurred in the history of the mass struggle in the regions.
Imperialism will face great storms in the years to come. And in several parts of the world, mostly in Latin America, considered its 'backyard'. With the development of the people's revolutionary struggle in the continent, Latin people, exploited and massacred for years, will be following a no return path for its liberation.
CEBRASPO - Brazilian Centre of Solidarity to the Peoples
ILPS - Brazil / Latin America Coordination