South of the border, an entire region is rising, electing radical governments and moving towards integration and genuine independence.
Today, “MintPress News” speaks to Ollie Vargas about Latin America and just what is going on in the region President Joe Biden called the U.S.’ “front yard.” Ollie Vargas is an award-winning journalist based in Bolivia. He is the co-founder of “Kawsachun News,” an outlet reporting in the English language on Bolivia and Latin America. He has also contributed to “MintPress.”
Key to the latest drive towards Latin America has been the role of Brazil and, in particular, President Lula da Silva, who has taken it upon himself to lead the Global South to take a more active role in world politics.
Brazil is currently the only Latin American member of the BRICS economic bloc. However, Mexico, Venezuela, Argentina, Cuba, Nicaragua and a host of other countries in the region have expressed interest in joining, which could turn the tables and provide balance to the U.S. “rules-based international order.”
Another key figure providing pushback to American dominance of Latin America is Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador. AMLO, as he is known, has refused to kowtow to Washington. Indeed, at President Biden’s Summit for Democracy in March, he described the U.S. as nothing more than an “oligarch with a façade of democracy.”
AMLO has proven very popular in Mexico, thanks to his pro-people policies. These include massively raising the minimum wage and state pensions, allowing tens of millions to live in dignity. All the while, he has kept inflation low. He holds a televised press conference every morning, in which he talks directly with the people. As Vargas put it, “While previous leaders stood above the population, AMLO stands with the people.”
AMLO stands, in Vargas’ opinion, in contrast to Chilean President Gabriel Boric. Heralded as a new kind of progressive at the time of his election, Boric has failed to maintain his popularity. Vargas explained that, while Boric has some superficially radical positions, he has changed little about the day-to-day existence of the ordinary people.
Vargas also talks about the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war on Latin America, about the upcoming elections in Ecuador, and what it was like reporting under the dictatorsh