Chavez's recent election as president of Venezuela further underlined that the people in Caracas see socialism as the answer to some of their woes and not all but over all is it a success?
Socialism in South America could be considered to have started with Simon Bolivar, the revolutionary who drove the Spanish out of South America and established Gran Colombia in what is now modern day Colombia and Venezuela. Bolivar was influenced by the French Revolution and by the American Independence movement which he greatly admired and thought to have been one of the greatest political movements. From these admirations he established a number of ideas which formed the basis for modern Latin America and which would go on to influence Che Guevara and others rights up to Chavez. Bolivars legacy however while one of liberation was also one of a dictatorship. Bolivar himself feared being ruled by those of a mixed race which may have lead to him assuming a dictatorship. Aside from all this though, one of Bolivars most enduring ideas is that of a pan American federation of South American states to fight against imperialism and establish a system with good education, health system and legal system.
Fast foward sixty odd years and Che Guevara enters the frame. The idea of a pan American united front appealed to Che so much so that he was considered the ultimate revolutonary. Through his activities in Bolivia and Venezuela and not withstanding Cuba , his visions are seen to have been crucial in socialism in Latin America. Che can be single handedly attributed with bolstering the health system in Cuba and improving literacy with most Cubans now having a degree of some sorts.
After Che though Socialism seems to have fallen apart some what in Latin America. Numerous dictatorships posted up with various puppet governments and most notably now with Chavez who is an abject failure. There is a huge poverty in Venezuela with no job creation and people are only getting by through subsidised food. A glaring gaping hole in the national finances is being plugged by oil money ! Is this socialism proper? Are the workers being united through struggle?
Brazil, long disassociated from the Pan American idea as they are Portugese speaking and see such ideas as foreign have sold themselves out. Dima Roussef is a politician who is centre left however a lot of her policies have seen her move somewhat to the right. A dam construction project in the Amazon has been beset by workers rights issues and long hours for very little pay (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/wo...est.html?_r=2&) . Her environmental policies and rights on LGBT are leaving a lot to be desired.
Would Che be spinning in his grave?...