Latin América’s new “pink tide” is gaining pace after Colombia elected its first leftist leader Gustavo Petro, with Brazil expected to follow suit in elections in October, an echo of a regional political shift in the early 2000s.
Jun 23, 2022
Around the region, angry voters, pinched by the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and rampant inflation fanned by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, have ditched mainstream parties and been lured by promised of bigger government and social spending.
“A leftist government in Colombia represents hope,” Gloria Sanchez, a 50-year old primary school teacher in the capital Bogotá and a Petro supporter, told Reuters.
“This is the first time that there’s a government that sees the people, the poor, as human beings.”
Colombia’s shift means it joins México, Argentina, Chile and Perú in a growing leftist bloc. In Brazil, the regional economic giant, former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva leads opinion polls against far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro.
The redrawing of political fault lines, with conservative bastions like Chile and Colombia toppled, may have a big impact on everything from grains and metals to economic policy, as well as ties with key partners like the United States and China.
“There is really an important and clear movement happening in Latin América, even though different governments show different nuances,” said Brazilian Senator Humberto Costa and member of the leftist Workers’ Party.
Chile’s Gabriel Boric, a 36-year-old progressive, came into office in March. Pedro Castillo, a socialist former teacher, in Perú last year. Bolivia’s socialist party won election in 2020 after a short-lived conservative interim government.
Bolivia’s ex-president Evo Morales, an icon of the original pink tide, wrote on Twitter that Petro’s win in Colombia marked a “rising social conscience and solidarity that raises the flag of the Latin American left.”
LULA VS BOLSONARO
All eyes are now on Brazil, where elections this year could tip the country leftwards, with voters growing dissatisfied with populist ultra-conservative President Bolsonaro.
“The fight against Bolsonaro has renewed Brazil’s left,” said leftist Brazilian Congressman Alexandre Padilha, adding it was attracting younger voters and brining people together in opposition to the current political and economic status quo.
“I believe that economic and political figures around the world are increasingly noticing the need to review a series of neo-liberal policies that have ended up deepening inequality.”
The new pink tide is however starkly different from the original version, that saw the emergence of firebrand leftists such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Morales in Bolivia.
Read More: Reuters – Latin América’s new ‘pink tide’ gains pace as Colombia shifts left; Brazil up next