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.
Venezuela’s democratically elected Present Chavez faces the most serious threat since the April 11, 2002 military coup. Violent street demonstrations by privileged middle and upper middle class university students have led to major street battles in and around the center of Caracas.
In less than two years, the lease on the largest and most important US military base in Latin America will run out. The base is in Manta, Ecuador, and Rafael Correa, the country’s leftist president, has pronounced that he will renew the lease “on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami–an Ecuadorean base.”
Despite much progress reducing poverty worldwide, a substantial number of the world's poorest people are being left behind, according to a new study that examines the plight of those living on less than 50 cents a day.
Last March Evo Morales, first indigenous president of Bolivia, instituted in his country a loan to be granted to all children under the age of 12 years living in poor rural communities. During the launching event, Morales approached an indigenous boy and asked him, "What are you going to do now with this money?" The little boy answered "I am going to use it to study because I want to become a president of us like you are."
In July, 2004, the IMF and World Bank commemorated the 60th anniversary of their founding at Bretton Woods, NH to provide a financial framework of assistance for the postwar world after the expected defeat of Germany and Japan. With breathtaking hypocrisy, an October, 2004 Development Committee Communique stated: "As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Bretton Woods Institutions....we recommit ourselves to supporting efforts by developing countries to pursue sustainable growth, sound macroeconomic policies, debt sustainability, open trade, job creation, poverty reduction and good governance." Phew.
The Venezuelan oligarchy vehemently criticizes President Chávez for providing fuel assistance to the government in Havana. It is true that Cuba receives 98 thousand barrels of petroleum daily at preferential prices. Nevertheless the Caribbean nation is not the only nation benefiting from favorable agreements.