From the Arab World to Latin America



From the Arab World to Latin America

Santiago Alba Rico
and Alma Allende

Translated by Machetera


 We have the impression that a great worldwide liberation process may be aborted by the unappeasable ferocity of Gaddafi, U.S. interventionism, and a lack of foresight in Latin America. 


We might describe the situation like this: in a part of the world linked once again to strong internal solidarities and from which only lethargy or fanaticism was expected, a wave of popular uprisings have arisen which have threatened to topple the allies of Western powers in the region, one after the other. 


Independent of local differences, these uprisings have something in common that radically distinguishes them from the orange and rose colored “revolutions” promoted by capitalism in the former Soviet bloc: they demand democracy, certainly, but far from being fascinated by Europe and the United States, they are the holders of a long, entrenched, radical anti-imperialist tradition forged around Palestine and Iraq.  There’s not even a hint of socialism in the popular Arab uprisings, but neither is there one of Islamism, nor – most importantly – of Euro-centric seduction: it is simultaneously a matter of economic upheaval and democratic, nationalistic and anti-colonial revolution, something that, forty years after their defeat, suddenly opens an unexpected opportunity for the region’s socialist and pan-Arabist left.


Progressive Latin America, whose pioneering liberation processes constitute hope for world-wide anti-imperialism, ought to support the Arab world right now without reservation, moving beyond the strategy of the Western powers overtaken by events, as well as those that are providing an opportunity for Gaddafi’s return – perhaps militarily, but above all, propagandistically – as a champion of human rights and democracy.  That discourse is hardly credible in this part of the world, where Fidel and Chávez enjoy enormous popular credit, but if Latin America aligns itself, actively or passively, with the tyrant, the contagious popular advances that are already extending toward Europe, and have gone as far as Wisconsin, will not only see themselves irreparably halted but will also produce a new fracture in the anti-imperialist camp, so that the world’s ever vigilant timekeeper, the United States of America can seize advantage in order to recover lost ground.  Something like this may already be occurring as a result of a combination of ignorance as well as schematic and summary anti-imperialism.  The Arab people, who are returning to history’s stage, need the support of their Latin American brothers and sisters, but above all, it is the relationship between world powers that cannot allow for vacillation by Cuba and Venezuela without having Cuba and Venezuela also suffer the consequences, with Latin America and the hopes for transformation at a global level suffering along with them.


We might say that we know very little of what it happening in Libya and are suspicious about the condemnations coming from the Western media and institutional powers in recent days.  We might leave it at that.  The imperialists are more intelligent.  With many specific interests in the area, they have defended their dictators to the bitter end, but when they have understood that those dictators were unsustainable, they have let them fall and chosen another strategy: that of supporting controlled democratic processes, choosing and deploying post-modern minorities as a driving force for limited change, a new rainbow of democratic rhetoric, in the sure knowledge that memory is short and leftist reflections quite immediate.  Any kind of Western interference must be opposed, but we don’t believe, truly, that NATO is going to invade Libya; it seems to us that this threat, just barely pointed out, has the effect of entangling and blurring the anti-imperialist camp, even to the point of making us forget something that we ought to know: who Gaddafi is.  Forgetting this produces three terrible effects in the end: breaking the ties with the popular Arab movements, giving legitimacy to the accusations against Venezuela and Cuba, and granting new prestige to the very damaged imperialist discourse on democracy.  All without a doubt, a triumph for imperialist interests in the region.


Gracias a: Santiago Alba Rico y Alma Allende
Fecha de publicación del artículo original: 24/02/2011
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