By Mohammad Mazhari

Latin America emerging from years of U.S.-backed dictatorships: professor

January 26, 2022 - 10:25
“Sanctions have tended to rally the people of the targeted nations around their governments”

TEHRAN – A professor of international human rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law says that Latin America is progressively emerging from years of U.S.-backed dictatorships and right-wing governments.

“Latin America is progressively emerging from years of U.S.-backed dictatorships and right-wing governments,” Daniel Kovalik tells the Tehran Times.

 “Chile is a great example of this, having only recently thrown out the Pinochet-era Constitution and thereby removing the last vestiges of the dictatorship,” Kovalik notes. 

Following is the text of the interview:

Q: How do you see the process of democratization in Latin America, especially when it comes to Chile?

A: Latin America is progressively emerging from years of U.S.-backed dictatorships and right-wing governments.  Chile is a great example of this, having only recently thrown out the Pinochet-era Constitution and thereby removing the last vestiges of the dictatorship.

Honduras is another great example, with the wife of Manuel Zelaya – the President ousted in a U.S.-backed coup in 2009 – having been elected in a landslide victory late last year.  This is a resounding rejection of the 2009 coup and the brutal coup governments which followed.  Similarly, in Bolivia, the electorate brought back the MAS party of Evo Morales who himself was ousted by a U.S.-backed military coup in 2019.  In such examples, we see the march of progress and democratization in Latin America.

Q: Why do Latin American states generally have a tendency toward leftists that are at odds with American liberal democracy?

A: I don’t see the leftist governments in Latin America in this way, though I understand that this is the prevailing view put forth by the mainstream media.  Look for example at the Chavista Revolution in Venezuela.  That Revolution, led by the democratically-elected Hugo

“The Pink Tide is certainly on the rise again in Latin America.” Chavez, and now by Nicolas Maduro, led to the radical democratization of Venezuela which, according to Jimmy Carter, has the very best electoral process in the world.  The same is true with the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua.  The Sandinistas brought democracy to Nicaragua for the first time, having ousted the U.S.-backed Somoza dictatorship in 1979, and holding the first free and fair elections in 1984.  The Sandinistas then peacefully stood down from office when they lost the election of 1990.  These are two good examples of how Leftists have brought democracy to their countries.  Even in Cuba, the government is far more representative of its people than the brutal dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista which was overthrown by the current revolutionary government.

Q: For decades, the revolutions and anti-imperialist struggles in Latin America were a model for many people around the world. Do you think this wave has declined or is still alive?

A: Certainly, the Pink Tide you are referencing has had set-backs due to U.S. meddling in countries such as Honduras, Brazil and Paraguay, but the Latin American people have continued to resist and are winning again.  Thus, leftists have been elected in countries like Chile, Argentina, Mexico, Honduras, Peru and Bolivia.  And, it looks like Lula de Silva, after being arrested in the U.S.-backed “Car Wash Campaign,” has a good chance of being re-elected in Brazil.  And so, the Pink Tide is certainly on the rise again.

Q: What are the common traits of leaders of anti-imperialist movements in Latin America and resistance movements in West Asia?

A: All of these leaders are committed to progressive social change favoring the poor, and all of them are committed to resisting foreign intervention, particularly by the U.S. and its Western allies.  And, they are all committed to helping each other in this resistance.

Q:  How do you evaluate the results of U.S. sanctions on anti-imperialist governments in Latin America? Do you think sanction policy has been efficient?

A: These sanctions have been incredibly efficient in bringing suffering and death to civilians in the targeted nations.  In Venezuela alone, the Center for Economic Policy Research estimated that over 40,000 Venezuelans were killed due to sanctions in only one year (between 2017 and 2018).  What these sanctions have never been efficient in doing is actually effectuating the regime-change which they are intended to produce.  Indeed, such sanctions have tended to rally the people of the targeted nations around their governments.   
 

 
 

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