On October 6, the Valdai Discussion Club hosted Dr Gonzalo Paz for an expert discussion on the future of the Latin American left and what it holds for Russia as well as the US.
The pendulum of Latin American politics is making a turn to the right at the moment. The ongoing Venezuelan crisis shakes the continent, while neighboring countries are embracing a new rightist status quo. The rise of leftist populists to power in Latin America in the early 2000s that occurred as a response to largely unsuccessful neoliberal policies of the 1990s set a new political trend on the continent. Largely anti-US in character this dynamic arguably benefitted Russia and facilitated its gradual comeback to Latin America.
Today, the leftist wave in the region is rapidly receding. The powerhouse of the continent, Argentina and Brazil, as well as Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador are all witnessing political shifts that could result in the re-emergence of strong right-leaning tendencies. This trend could signify the return of the United States to the region as a go-to partner, however, the Presidency of Donald Trump may become the real “black swan” for Latin America. In the meantime Russia is looked at with great suspicion while its strategy on the continent is seen exclusively through the lens of a new Cold War narrative.
Why is the era of leftist politicians coming to an end in Latin America? Will the emergence of right-leaning leaders in the region spell the end for Russia’s influence there? What should regional powers expect from Donald Trump in the wake of a paradigm shift in Latin America? These as well as other questions will be addressed by the participants at the upcoming event.