Latin America

Urban Revolt

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Read this to be inspired by stories of city-based resistance in some of the most difficult conditions possible.

The editors want to confront the idea that capitalism is triumphant everywhere and instead look at examples where “the hegemony of ruling classes is being directly challenged by mass organisations”. Their examples range from Africa to Asia to Latin America.

Ecuador - can Lenin deliver his promises?

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We can only guess at the extent of Donald Trump’s knowledge of Latin America, Enlightenment philosophy and Russian revolutionary history. Nonetheless it would be nice to think that the election of the superbly named Lenin Voltaire Moreno Garces as president of Ecuador will have raised a few eyebrows in his administration.

High class muscle men for capital

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In May 1916 US troops entered Santo Domingo. They would leave eight years later, after reshaping the economy in the interests of US big business. But the legacy of the occupation has been much more lasting both economically and in terms of democracy, writes Hassan Mahamdallie.

On 5 May 1916 an advance party of two seaborne companies of US marines landed on the coast of the Caribbean republic of Santo Domingo (also known as the Dominican Republic) with orders to secure US interests. Ten days later they had taken over the capital city. They would not leave for another eight years, by which time they had made sure that Santo Domingo’s freedom had been subjugated to the political and economic imperatives of the US.

Latin America and the struggles to come

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For a decade global capitalism has suffered setbacks and defeats in the continent where it had been at its most aggressive. Mike Gonzalez argues it is the new forces that have led the resistance which are central to continuing the struggle for a new society.

Since the new century began, Latin America has been at the centre of resistance to capitalism. The first sounds of battle came in 1994, in Chiapas, Mexico. It was a rebellion that set in motion a chain reaction of struggles. In Cochabamba, Bolivia, in 1999, an extraordinary coalition of forces came together to fight successfully against the privatisation of water. It was the first chapter in a story of resistance, grassroots organisation and a challenge for power by the mass movements that eventually carried Evo Morales to the presidency in 2006.

The Farc, Chavez and the Colombian dilemma

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The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, the Farc, has existed since the late 1940s. But it has rarely received the kind of worldwide attention it has today.

In part, that is the result of an international campaign for the liberation of Ingrid Betancourt, the French-born presidential candidate, who has now been a Farc hostage for a number of years. But the real reason for the new focus on the Farc is more sinister and more far reaching.

Revolutionary Horizons

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Forrest Hylton and Sinclair Thomson

Some years before the French Revolution, Bolivia's indigenous masses, the Aymara, the Quechua and others, rose up. The names of the heroes of the 1780-1 rebellion - Tomás Katari, Tupaj Amaro and Tupaj Katari - still echo through Bolivia, where two thirds of the population define themselves as indigenous.

When the Gringos Go Down South

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These days the visitor crossing from the Mexican city of Tijuana to San Diego in California is immediately slapped in the face by a huge billboard screaming, "Stop the Border Invasion!" Sponsored by the rabidly anti-immigrant vigilante group, the Minutemen, the same truculent slogan reportedly insults the public at other border crossings in Arizona and Texas.

The Minutemen, once caricatured in the press as gun-toting clowns, are now haughty celebrities of grassroots conservatism, dominating morning hate radio programmes as well as the even more hysterical ether of the right wing blogosphere. In heartland as well as border states, Republican candidates vie desperately for their endorsement.

With the electorate alienated by the dual catastrophes of Baghdad and New Orleans, the Brown Peril has suddenly become the issue through which the Republicans hope to retain control of Congress in next month's elections.

Peru: Second Chance President

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Peru's president elect, Alan Garcia, promises to be rather different to the Alan Garcia who became president in 1985

Then he was determined to avoid orthodox economics, limit his country's debt service payments and build what he called "un Peru diferente" ("a different Peru"). The Alan Garcia of the second round of elections on 4 June 2006 said that he acknowledged his past mistakes and will respect the rules of neo-liberal economics. Garcia won the elections with 53 percent of the vote, while the nationalist candidate, Ollanta Humala, got 47 percent.

Nicaragua: A Return to Power for the Sandinistas?

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In this year of elections in Latin America, a half-forgotten name has re-emerged.

Daniel Ortega of the Sandinista National Liberation Front of Nicaragua (FSLN) was one of those who led the revolution that overthrew the 43-year dictatorship of the Somoza family in 1979. In 1984 he was elected president, but in 1990 he was defeated and replaced by a right wing alliance under Violeta Chamorro.

From One Struggle to Another

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From colonialism to nationhood and capitalism, Mike Gonzalez looks at the evolution of Latin American literature and its inspirations.

In 1941 the US publisher Farrar & Rinehart advertised a competition for the best Latin American novel. It was won by Broad and Alien is the World, set in a mountain community in Peru. Its author, Ciro Alegria, was one of a generation of writers who called themselves the indigenistas, middle class intellectuals committed to recuperating the culture and traditions of the indigenous communities of the Andes.

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