© Reuters. The statue of Simon Bolivar, located in Plaza Bolivar, is covered with the Colombian national flag the morning after the second round of the presidential election, in Bogota, Colombia June 20, 2022. REUTERS / Luisa Gonzalez
By Isabel Woodford, Carlos Vargas and Gabriel Araujo
MEXICO CITY/BOGOTA/SAO PAULO (Reuters) -Latin America’s new “pink wave” is accelerating after Colombia elected its first leftist leader Gustavo Petro, with Brazil expected to follow suit in elections in October, an echo of a regional political shift in the early 2000s.
Around the region, angry voters, pinched by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and rampant inflation caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have abandoned mainstream parties and drawn to the promise of on larger government and social spending.
Gloria Sanchez, a 50-year-old primary school teacher in the capital Bogota and a supporter of the Petro, told Reuters: “A leftist government in Colombia represents hope.
“This is the first time there has been a government that treats the people, the poor, as human beings.”
Colombia’s shift means it joins Mexico, Argentina, Chile and Peru in a growing left-wing bloc. In Brazil, the regional economic giant, former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva leads opinion polls against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
The redrawing of political fault lines, with conservative bastions like Chile and Colombia toppled, could have a major impact on everything from grains and metals to economic policy and relations. with important partners such as the United States and China.
“There is really an important and obvious movement going on in Latin America, although different governments present different nuances,” said Brazilian Senator Humberto Costa and member of the leftist Workers’ Party. know.
Chile’s Gabriel Boric, a 36-year-old progressive player, took office in March. Pedro Castillo, a former socialist teacher, was in Peru last year. Bolivia’s socialist party won elections in 2020 after a short-lived conservative interim government.
Former Bolivian president Evo Morales, an icon of the early pink wave, wrote on Twitter (NYSE:) that Petro’s victory in Colombia marks a “rising social conscience and uplifting solidarity.” flag of the Latin American left.”
LULA VS BOLSONARO
All eyes are now on Brazil, where this year’s election could tip the country sharply to the left, with voters increasingly disgruntled with the ultra-conservative populist Bolsonaro.
“The fight against Bolsonaro has renewed Brazil’s left,” Brazil’s left-wing congressman, Alexandre Padilha, said, adding that it was attracting younger voters and fellow protesters against the state of the economy. and current politics.
“I believe economic and political figures around the world are increasingly recognizing the need to reconsider a range of neoliberal policies that have deepened inequality.”
However, the new pink tide is radically different from the original version, which has seen the emergence of leftists in the fire service such as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and Morales of Bolivia.
Castillo in Peru has been at the center since taking office in the middle of last year, creating tensions with his socialist party. Boric has sought to fine-tune his economic agenda and criticize leftist autocracies in the region.
And that could change, too, with Argentine centre-left President Alberto Fernandez under pressure ahead of the 2023 elections, Castillo is struggling to fend off repeated impeachment efforts and his popularity. Boric gradually declined since taking office.
Nicolas Saldias, an analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit, said: “If elections take place today, many of these ‘pink’ governments will disappear. “This is not a strong support base.”
On the streets of Colombia, many voters simply want a better life for themselves and their children. Opportunities to study and work.
“I don’t understand much about left and right, we are people who are working and those things don’t matter to us, we want to work and our children can be better than us,” Pedro Pedraza, 60 years old, said. sellers in Bogota.
“We don’t want anything for free, we want to be able to work and get out of poverty.”
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