Undoubtedly, Latin America is suffering the tensions provoked by hard demands of change. The victory of the candidate that embodied those demands in Bolivian elections, Evo Morales, is the most recent example of this. And questions have been raised. This is neither the first nor the last time the region undergoes such tensions and in order to understand the current situation we should analyze the past, especially now that the Summit of European Union and Latin American Heads of State approaches.
More than 20 years ago, three trends of change were present in the region: democratization, which began in Ecuador in 1978; the economic reforms implemented after the Mexican financial crisis of 1982; and the revolutionary conflicts, in Central America mainly, which were crucial elements of the Cold War. South American countries played a key role in the solution of those conflicts, although that of Europe should not be forgotten. François Mitterrand and his Minister of Foreign Affairs Claude Cheysson, apart from Felipe González implemented a policy different from that of the United States in Latin America. The end of Helmut Schmidt’s government brought about no changes at all.
That movement and the peace negotiations organized by the Latin American countries showed that the states involved in such a process had room for manoeuvres. Today, in view of the social inequalities caused by the economic reforms, the mobilization capacity must be even bigger. This should be discussed in the next Summit with the European Union.
El País (Spain)
“¿Es todo nuevo en América Latina?”, by Enrique V. Iglesias, El País, January 14, 2006.