These past 20 years in Latin America have been a saga of alternating successes and failures, but the balance is clearly positive for Latin American and Caribbean peoples.
Certainly, there have been numerous and painful defeats. There is the coup that overthrew the progressive and popular government of President Manuel Zelaya in Honduras. And there is the soft coup, disguised as a parliamentary decision, which also overthrew the progressive and popular government of President Fernando Lugo in Paraguay. And in the list of setbacks must also be the defeats of Chávez and Kirchner.
But Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Brazil, Cuba, Argentina and Venezuela have managed to defy coup attempts and U.S. military intervention. And that is no small feat. Electoral defeats are surmountable, but a coup or foreign invasion is not as easy to recover from.
It is true that Washington still dominates and has subdued the governments of Mexico, Colombia, Perú, Panamá, Honduras and Guatemala. But these are no longer the times of absolute and indisputable U.S. dominance over the entire sub-continent.
We can add the extraordinary and historic achievement of the creation, solid existence, growing prestige, influence and decisive and successful political struggle of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), whose fourth successful summit has just ended in Ecuador.
This irrefutable triumph is the counterpart to the equally undeniable decline in the power of U.S. imperialism in other parts of the world. That nation’s decline can be traced back to 1961, to the defeat of the U.S. mercenary invasion in Playa Girón.
And this is but a concentrated taste of the ancient and universal history, of the social, economic, political and ideological struggles between the center and the periphery, colonialism and anti-colonialism.
No defeat or victory will last forever. The only constant is that line of progress, of human improvement, which leads to the struggle between antagonistic classes.
In Mexico, we say, “Zapata vive, la lucha sigue” (“Zapata lives, the struggle continues”). And we could say something similar about Bolívar, Hidalgo and Chávez, who still live and whose struggles continue. The recent electoral defeats of Chávez and Kirchner are only a temporary bump in the road. Chávez is now on the defensive, but alive and active. And in Argentina a new stage of social struggle, strong and loud, has already begun, this time against the neoliberal Macri and his bosses at Washington. And all that with the backdrop of a new popular uprising in Haiti against the U.S. military occupation poorly disguised with U.N. uniforms.
The Mexican, Latin American and global right is enjoying its recent successes. But new popular demonstrations and uprisings signal that Bolívar, San Martín and Hugo Chávez still live. And, although the right, with its imperialism and colonialism don’t understand, the struggles still continue.