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Right-Wing Politics in the New Latin America

Right-Wing Politics in the New Latin America

Francisco Dominguez | Doctor Geraldine Lievesley | Doctor Steve Ludlam | Marcos Costa Lima | Guy Burton | Ms Grace Livingstone | Leonardo Diaz-Echenique | Peter Lambert | Alexander Dawson | Patricio Silva | Andreas Tsolakis | Diane Raby | Andrew Higgingbottom | Francisco Durand


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The focus for students of Latin America in the past decade has been on the political forces of the left and the so-called 'pink tide' presidencies attempting to bring about social and economic change in the region. However, there has been far less attention paid to the rightwing political forces resisting such change. Such opposition is being orchestrated by political parties, business, the private media and other social and cultural institutions and is linked to the 'soft power' of US diplomacy. In recent years its activities have often appeared to challenge the democratic process itself. Based on a variety of original fieldwork and evidence, this volume addresses the current trajectories of rightwing politics in Latin America in the face of leftist governments, the discrediting of neoliberalism, and the decline of US hegemony. It includes chapters on US policy towards Latin America; the role of US-based think-tanks; the influence of transnational business and of the private media; as well as offering country-specific chapters on key states with rightwing governments and on opposition to left-of-centre governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina and Chile. A revealing and important book for anyone interested in contemporary Latin American politics.
Dr. Francisco Dominguez is Senior Lecturer in Latin American Studies, Middlesex University. He has recently edited Mercosur: Between Integration and Democracy (2003); ‘Violence, the Left and the Creation of Un Nuevo Chile’, in W. Fowler and P. Lambert (eds.) Political Violence and Identity in Latin America (2008), ‘The rise of the private sector in Cuba’ in A. I. Gray and A.Kapcia (eds.) The Changing Dynamic of Cuban Civil Society (2008), and ‘The Latin Americanization of the politics of emancipation’ in Reclaiming Latin America: Experiments in Radical Social Democracy (2009) Dr. Geraldine Lievesley is Senior Lecturer, and teaches Latin American and Cuban Politics at Manchester Metropolitan University. Amongst her recent publications are: Reclaiming Latin America: Experiments in Radical Social Democracy (2009, with Steve Ludlam), The Cuban Revolution. Past, Present and Future Perspectives (2004), and In the Hands of Women. Dr Steve Ludlam is Senior Lecturer, and teaches Cuban and Latin American politics at the University of Sheffield. His recent publications include ‘Cuba at 50 - what about the workers?’ Bulletin of Latin American Research (2009); Reclaiming Latin America: Experiments in Radical Social Democracy (2009, with Geraldine Lievesley), Labour, the State, Social Movements and the Challenge of Neo-liberal Globalisation (2007, with Andrew Gamble, Andrew J. Taylor, and Stephen Wood).
''Right-Wing Politics in the New Latin America' poses key questions regarding the Latin American right and goes a long way in answering them. As editors Lievesley and Ludlam point out in the introduction and is documented throughout the book, the right counts on vast resources from both home and abroad and is embedded in the bureaucracy of diverse institutions. The book also demonstrates that the commitment of many Latin American rightist political parties to democracy is shaky and indeed some of them have historical links with fascist and other movements of the far-right. Equally important is the rich material on the maneuvers of powerful actors in Washington on behalf of the Latin American right. In addition, the book reveals the key role of the right in the formulation and implementation of neoliberal policies in recent decades. This is a must read for those intent on understanding twenty-first century Latin American politics, even in those countries where the left currently has the upper hand.' - Steve Ellner, author of 'Rethinking Venezuelan Politics: Class, Conflict and the Chávez Phenomenon' 'Since the demise of the genocidal military dictatorships, democratisation in 1980s and the pink tide, it's tempting to see the Latin American right as on the back foot. This excellent and timely collection acts as a useful corrective, providing a more balanced understanding.' - Dr Peter North, University of Liverpool 'Too often progressives demonise or just ignore the political right. This new collection redresses this deficit with a series of extremely well informed snapshots of the right in action across Latin America. A must read for all interested in genuine democratisation' - Professor Ronaldo Munck, Head of Civic and Global Engagement, Dublin City University 'This book offers the most comprehensive and authoritative assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of the political right in Latin America, and a much-needed examination of the continuing challenges to democracy and to the drive towards social and economic equality which is posed by the traditional ruling classes in this region. This is a key reference for understanding contemporary Latin American politics.' - Prof Alfredo Saad-Filho, Department of Development Studies, SOAS, University of London 'A timely book that fills a gap in the literature. While the rise of the left has dominated the headlines regarding Latin America, the book reminds us that the centre right rules in some of the most important countries of the region. It provides a rich analysis of centre right politics in a rapidly changing region of the world. Extremely useful for anyone interested in having a full picture of contemporary Latin American politics.' - Francisco Panizza, Reader in Latin American Politics, The London School of Economics and Political Science, author of 'Contemporary Latin America'

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
About the editors i
Acknowledgements vii
Abbreviations viii
Introduction: reaction and revolt 1
The challenge from the left 1
Elements of right-wing advantage 2
The structure of the book 5
Part One | The continental right 9
1 | The South American right after ‘the end of history’ 11
Defining the right 12
The rise of representative democracy and markets in South America 13
The South American right and the post-2000 turn to the left 14
The right in power: Colombia and Mexico 15
The right with influence on government: Brazil and Peru 17
The right as ‘loyal opposition’: Chile, Uruguay and Argentina 18
The ‘problematic’ right in opposition: Paraguay, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador 21
Conclusion 24
2 | The United States of America and the Latin American right 26
New challenges to US hegemonic strategy 28
Obama, Venezuela and Honduras 30
Conflict over US military bases 33
Figure 2.1 The US military presence in Latin America 34
ALBA and US subversion 38
Colombia, Mexico and the ‘war on drugs’ 40
Prospects of sympathetic relations in the Southern Cone and Brazil 41
Conclusion 43
3 | Unearthing the real subversives: the US state, right-wing think tanks and political intervention in contemporary Latin America 44
The New American Century 44
Preaching counter-revolution: the role of the think tanks 49
Multiple forms of intervention 54
Concluding thoughts 58
Part Two | The right in office 61
4 | PAN Para Todos: elections, democracy and the right in contemporary Mexico 63
Democratization and the right 64
The right in power 68
Breaking down the election 71
Conclusion: a PAN for All? 75
5 | Colombia as the linchpin of US hegemony in Latin America 78
Colombia and the US: a history of complicity 81
Paramilitarism and mafia control of politics 85
The political and human cost of the Colombian model 91
The Colombian right and Latin America 93
6 | A right for all seasons? Right-wing politics in contemporary Peru 96
Peru in comparative perspective 97
The New Right emerges (and fails) 99
The gradual growth of conservative power 101
Self-doubt on the right 103
Final thoughts 106
Part Three | The right in opposition 111
7 | Venezuela’s opposition: desperately seeking to overthrow Chávez 113
The Fourth Republic: a rotten regime 114
The insurrection of the bourgeoisie 116
Conclusions 128
8 | Multilateral lines of conflict in contemporary Bolivia 130
Contextualizing contemporary changes in Bolivia’s foreign relations 131
The MAS, the ‘plebeian mass’ and the conservative opposition 133
US interference 136
TNCs, the donor community and the ALBA: multilateral lines of conflict 139
ALBA 143
Conclusions 145
9 | Right-wing opposition as counter-revolution: the Cuban case 148
Empires and dictators 149
Right-wing hegemony in ‘Exilio City’ 151
Enforcing hegemony by terror 152
Tolerated terrorism 154
Invading the Hill 155
Cracks in the monolith 159
Conclusions 162
10 | Right-wing politics in contemporary Brazil 165
The military dictatorship and the politics of transition 166
The right after the transition 168
The Lula government and the Brazilian right 171
The 2010 election: a resounding defeat for the right 174
Concluding thoughts 175
11 | Undermining the new dawn: opposition to Lugo in Paraguay 177
The victory in the context of the transition 178
The outcome of the 2008 elections 179
Successes 181
Blunting the key reforms 182
Opposition in Congress 186
The media 189
The case of the EPP 190
Undermining the new dawn 191
12 | The new Argentine right and the Cristina Fernández administration 194
From world granary to soya nation 195
Agrarian transformation during the Menem administration 197
Table 12.1 Growth in production and price of main grains 2001–08 198
Rural reaction 199
Right-wing opposition and media corporations 201
Table 12.2 Key holdings of Grupo Clarín 203
Confronting right-wing opposition 204
Conclusion 207
13 | The Chilean right in the Concertación era, 1990–2010 210
The Chilean right and its uneasiness with party politics 210
Government–opposition relations following the transition to democracy 213
From Lavín to Piñera: the struggle for the presidency 218
The right in power: an early assessment 221
Conclusion: the challenge from the right 224
About the contributors 233
Bibliography 236
Index 259