By Emir Sader
They risked, amid consensus that they believed fatal, to announce the end of History, which would rest eternally in the arms of liberal democracy and the capitalist market economy. With the alternatives buried, capitalism and imperialism could redesign power in the world.
Latin America was starred by characters such as Carlos Menem, Alberto Fujimori, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Carlos Andrés Pérez, Sánchez de Losada, Salinas de Gortari, Lucio Gutiérrez, among others, consecrated then by the international press as the "modernizers", the "liberalizers ", The" globalizers "of our societies, finally saved from" populism "," statism "," nationalism ".
Privileged victim of the great regressive transformations that have occurred in the world and, in particular, of neoliberalism, where more and more radical governments occurred, Latin America reacted as few believed possible. And it has become the only region in the world with anti-neoliberal governments, with regional integration processes, with the capacity to reverse the strong trends towards social inequality and the increase in poverty and misery in the world.
Latin America won the right to define its history based on its ability to react to the neoliberal model and globalization. Thanks to the leadership of leaders such as Hugo Chávez, Lula, Néstor and Cristina Kirchner, Pepe Mujica, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, among others. Now Latin America faces the lasting effects of the international recession and internal rightist articulations, generating crises in several of our countries.
Right now, in the middle of the second decade of the 21st century, it can be said that the future of the continent is open. No one can guarantee that anti-neoliberal governments will be definitively consolidated, much less that attempts at conservative restoration will prevail.
The two tracks are open. What can be said is that the Latin American political scene will be new from now on. There will no longer be high prices for export products, on the contrary, the international recession tends to spread. Nor will it be possible for each country to react in isolation to the international recession.
The path of restoration is being put into practice in Argentina and it quickly shows how its approaches deepen the recession, unemployment, indebtedness and even inflation itself. It is a way that cuts social rights, concentrates income, subordinates the interests of the country to large international capital and the United States. We know where this path could lead our countries, we have lived through the rise of neoliberalism in the 1990s, we know that it is a tragic path for our countries and for our peoples.
The other is the way to consolidate the extraordinary advances made and move towards an even more integrated Latin America, by Mercosur, by Unasur, by Celac, more linked to the destiny of the South of the world, of the Brics, of its Development Bank. With anti-neoliberal governments articulating and putting into practice an integrated model of development with income distribution, incessantly deepening their internal markets for mass consumption, strengthening and democratizing their States more, with processes of democratic formation of their public opinions, contracting models of improvement of neoliberalism and the construction of societies based on the rights of all.
Which of the two ways is going to triumph is what is being decided at this moment in the continent. The democratic and popular forces no longer have the right to return or continue to make the mistakes they have made and are still making. It is the fate of our countries throughout the first half of the 21st century that is being decided. Real awareness of the problems we are facing, of the forces that we have and that we can count on, of the mistakes made, capacity for renewal towards the new generations, towards women, towards the still-neglected popular strata, democratic spirit and capacity creative theory, they can lead us, through the democratic and popular path of overcoming the current crisis.
The two tracks are open. The current tough fights is to decide which of the two is going to prevail.
- Emir Sader, Brazilian sociologist and political scientist, is coordinator of the Public Policy Laboratory of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ).