14ymedio, Carlos Alberto Montaner, 12 December 2015 — Has the Latin American Spring finally sprung? Perhaps. There are signs. Antonio Machado records the doubt in his Canciones: “Spring has come, nobody knows how.”
All springs are different.
Eastern Europe’s, in the second half of the eighties, was possible because the stars surprisingly aligned themselves under the firmament of absolute disgust with Real Socialism, sunk in economic failure and political disrepute. It was the glorious moment of Havel, Walesa, Reagan, John Paul II, Sakharov and especially Gorbachev, a naïve and melancholy gravedigger for that sinister undertaker forged by the KGB and the Red Army.
The blaze quickly spread to Egypt, Libya, Syria and Yemen. It seemed that there was, in the Arab world, a curdled desire to establish Western-style regimes, but that was not the case. What did exist, in reality, was the will to put an end to corrupt and incompetent military tyrannies that kept a substantial part of the population in poverty. To “the people” it didn’t matter if the substitutes were curacas from radical Islam, who imposed sharia and stuffed women into burkas to prevent the lewd exhibition of their faces.
What are the signs that allow us to speak about the emergence of a Latin American spring? There are at least three.
First, tentatively in October, Guatemalans elected Jimmy Morales – a television actor from the center-right with no political experience – over Sandra Torres, a woman from the left. Morales’s motto was simple and clear: “Neither corrupt nor a thief.” With this promise, he got twice the votes of Torres. Morales did not promise a revolution, but rather to return to republican roots, good management, honesty, and markets, and to combat poverty freeing the productive energy of the country.
In November it was the turn of Mauricio Macri in Argentina, another politician from the center-right. He did something that seemed impossible a few months earlier: defeating Peronism in its Kirchner variant, although his opponent, Daniel Scioli, was the most presentable face of that tendency, because, at bottom, he was oblivious to it. Macri also promised good government, tranquility, less populism, less cronyism, and, especially, to fight against corruption and drug trafficking.
The third symptom of the Latin American spring was the parliamentary elections of 6 December in Venezuela. The democratic opposition managed to gain a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, with which it can curb the totalitarian drift of Chavismo and begin to rebuild the country after 17 years of stupidity and abuses.
Voters punished Maduro for the atrocious shortages, the highest inflation in the world, the murderous violence that has turned the country into a slaughterhouse, the limitless corruption, and for the pathetic ignorance of a president who trills and can talk to the birds, but not to the people, because his little head is filled with “millions of penises” and uncontrollable fish, as if he were premiering a comical version of Tourette Syndrome.
The Latin American Spring is based on a rejection of corruption, as we have seen in the three countries mentioned, and as seen in Brazil and Chile. It can be seen in the conviction that populism, with its constant violations of the law, high public spending, welfare cronyism, constant demagoguery, and that obscene anti-market, anti-American and anti-Western language, all leading to economic disruption and catastrophe that invariably results in a painful adjustment.
Latin America is tired of the incendiary talk of the Sao Paulo Forum, of the devastating madness of 21st Century Socialism, of the ALBA sect launched by Hugo Chavez and financed by Venezuelan petrodollars.
This Spring will carry away Bolivia’s Evo and his anti-Republican multinational invention, Correa’s Ecuadorian experiment, Sandanista Daniel Ortega’s “neo-Somoza-ism,” and will leave Cuba abandoned, more alone than ever, languishing in poverty, while the leaders who made possible this incredibly cruel way to mortify human beings are disappearing.