In July of this year, spoke at the conference of European latinamericanists in Salamanca (Spain). Decided to dedicate the theme of his speech to the prospects of Latin American integration and in General “left turn”. Fellow latinoamericanos consider it insane to talk about the future of the leftist governments at a time when the region takes place and in full swing there is a shift to the right. But I think at the time. The owl of Minerva flies at midnight, on the way out of the impasse at the time to think when the maze seems hopeless. Here is the full text of the report at the conference.
Model of Latin American integration in the early twenty-first century: challenges and prospects.
To date, Latin America has experienced the completion of a great historical cycle, called the “left turn”. This gives the researcher a number of epistemological advantages – first and foremost, allows us to study this phenomenon and its integration dimension, if not final, stage of relative completion. “Left turn” arose, took shape, matured and are currently being, apparently, the final stage. This opens up the possibility to look at the subject more objectively, and perhaps proceed to its analysis as a whole.
Let us outline briefly the basic outline of the “left turn”. From 1998 to 2014 in the States of the region twenty-five times been elected or re-elected presidents of the left or center-left political orientation. Left turn only in this sense covers 9 of the 10 States in the South and 6 of the 10 countries of Central and Caribbean America. In a broader sense, including qualitative strengthening of the left socio-political movements, this process profoundly altered the face of the entire Latin-Caribbean America without a single exception. It is clear that it could not lead to a radical transformation of the integration architecture of the region.
In the integration plan of the XXI century began for Latin America is extremely intensive. In the period from 2004 to 2011 in the geopolitical space of the region has four new enterprises: the Bolivarian Alliance for the peoples of our America (ALBA) in 2004, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in 2008, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2010, finally, the Pacific Alliance (AP) in 2011, this “marathon” was somehow involved all 33 countries of the region, many of them are in three blocks. Such integration boom in Latin America, and no region of the world, have never seen ever.
It seems to us that of these three associations – ALBA, UNASUR and CELAC – find internal unity and a certain holistic model of integration. From a formal point of view their unity is the key role of the Bolivarian of Venezuela – in one case the initiator and in two other extremely important factor in their formation. From the substantial point of view, despite the domestic political heterogeneity of UNASUR and CELAC, all three blocks in their emergence and development was clearly left or center-left in nature.
From our point of view, here we are talking about the phenomenon of an attempt to build “alternative Latin American integration”. This term is new and requires explanation. When we talk about the alternative this type of integration, the question arises – to what it opposes and what alternative. It seems that the data Association one way or another alternative in the US and transnational capital to impose and promote their own model of integration. In fact, ALBA emerged as a direct antithesis of the plans for the establishment of a free trade Area of the Americas (ALCA), and CELAC and UNASUR – as an alternative to the various aspects of the inter-American system, particularly the OAS. In this sense, all three unions are somehow an alternative character. Similar content 2003-2015 filled and precedent, MERCOSUR (Common market of the South), especially after the accession in 2012 of Venezuela. The degree of alternativeness still have increased the creation of a Pacific Alliance as the antithesis of neoliberal MERCOSUR and other above-mentioned associations. Direct and open competition between these two units is not observed due to the operation of CELAC and UNASUR as organs of the protection of regional interests, but the fact objective contrasts two models of integration are indisputable.
Of the alternative character of the present stage of Latin American integration should potential conflicts. While the conflict is latent stage, but it can manifest itself if the current “right turn” will also get integration and measurement continued. Already there are calls from Argentina and Brazil MERCOSUR to reformat, give it an “outdoor” nature, exclude Venezuela. If the rights plan will be able to come true, it’s hard to affect the status of other integration associations.
From our point of view, the basis of such alternative integration process are underlying trends on a global scale that Latin America’s regional distinctiveness and specificity. Apparently, currently a major global trend is the confrontation between the growing transnationalization of the world economy and politics at a decisive role of private capital, on the one hand, and attempts at regional and global consolidation of the state-capitalist powers, both in politics and in the economy. The BRICS bloc emerged as an attempt to unite the world’s state-capitalist orientation, and actively promoted negotiations for the Pacific and Transatlantic partnerships are an attempt essentially the global consolidation of power of transnational private capital.
These General trends have a Latin American dimension. In the ranks of ALBA at the time raised the strategic goal of creating a “krupnorazmernyh of corporations as an intergovernmental alternative to the transnational corporations. Regardless of the effectiveness of this experience ALBA, this opposition in itself is significant. With regard to UNASUR and CELAC, their main functionality is to establish mechanisms for the protection of the political sovereignty of the national States and self-resolving intra-regional conflicts. In this sense, these enterprises, especially UNASUR, are in the role of regional collective security mechanism, the inter-American alternative. Remember the condemnation of the UNASUR coups in Honduras and Paraguay, as well as its mediating role in the settlement of the armed conflict in Colombia and political – in Bolivia, 2008-2009, Ecuador in 2010 and the current Venezuela.
Currently, the mechanism of the coup in “soft” form, acts as a political tool to weaken and subvert national sovereignty in the interests of transnational forces. UNASUR has developed the special tool to prevent such violations of the constitutional order of Democratic Charter, which was applied in particular to Paraguay in 2012. Thus, the protection of national statehood is one of the main stated purposes and partly implemented by UNASUR. Unfortunately, this mechanism cannot be applied to a “soft” coup in Brazil since the South American giant is the leading political force of the UNASUR. This is one of the paradoxes of the current Latin American situation. The weakness of such political integration unions like UNASUR and CELAC, is the lack of adequate economic fundamentals (with the exception of MERCOSUR, is now also experiencing a deep crisis, exacerbated by the coup in Brazil). The economies of the countries of the region are characterized by a large proportion of transnational capital, and governments lack the objective and/or political will to effectively limit its dominance.
In conclusion, a few words about the prospects of Latin American integration in General and, in this context, “left turn”. World history is both progressive and cyclic, and in General spiral nature. It appears that the Latin American “left turn” is the initial step in a more complex and lengthy historical process. In January 2016 on the site of the world economic forum as the main tool of transnational intellectual circles actively discussed the prospects of development of the world economy associated with so-called “fourth industrial revolution”. Its essence consists in transition from the old forms of industrial production to the new automated forms of “robotics”. Objectively automation constitutes one of the fundamental prerequisites for the unification of the world economy into a unified organic whole. However, it would be reckless to assume that a monopoly on the automation and robotization of the world economy a priori, belongs to the private transnational sector. The state-capitalist sector is also keen to explore this new trend. At the same time, it has already revealed a deep internal contradictions that limit the possibilities of development of new fields, as well as regulate the expansion of private transnational capital. With this in the first place, linked to the internal crisis of the “left turn”. From our point of view, the prospects for social progress in Latin America and worldwide is associated with the ability to resolve this crisis on a progressive basis, including the protection of social and political rights of workers.