As neoliberal policies continue to define the rules of the world economy, great signs of change are being witnessed in many progressive governments of Latin America that are rejecting the Washington Consensus in favour of democratic and people-oriented models of development based on greater regional integration, cooperation and economic justice.
Government support for small-scale agriculture in the wake
of the earthquake could transform Haiti’s economy. Such rural development could
offer employment for those displaced as well as address the long-term
problems of hunger and poverty, says Beverley Bell.
At a recent summit in Mexico, 24 Latin American governments joined with their Caribbean counterparts to create a new regional body as an alternative to the Organization of American States. Does this move represent a clear and unified statement of independence from US dominance?
Sebastian Pinera’s recent election victory in Chile makes
him the first right-wing President to hold office since General Pinochet. Does the
win represent the beginning of the end for the Latin
American left, or does it represent a growing disenchantment with ‘politics as
Despite promises of agrarian reform, the Brazilian
government under Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva continues to promote the interests
of agribusiness - privileging a landholding minority at the expense of the
poor, say Chris Tilly, Marie Kennedy, and Tarso Luís Ramos.
In 2004 a coup ousted Aristide, the Haitian president who represented the interests of the country's poor majority. Since then, Haiti has adopted an economic development plan which prioritises corporate profit over eradicating poverty, writes Kevin Pina.
In Central America the consolidation of corporate and military power at the expense of the poor majority has given rise to social movements which question the legitimacy of the representative "democracies" of the region, writes Carlos Aguilar.
Governments in Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia have made constitutional amendments to protect traditional knowledge and biodiversity against patenting. But opposition to these developments may still lead to the privatisation of Andean communities' cultural and environmental heritage, says GRAIN.