The split in Bolivia’s ruling political party has become official. President Luis Arce and vice-president David Choquehuanca are no longer part of the MAS (Movement towards Socialism) party, which ratified the decision, informally announced on the 24, to present former president Evo Morales (2006-2019) as its candidate in the 2025 elections. The MAS held its tenth congress from October 3-4 in the town of Lauca Ñ, a coca growing region in the center of the country. On that occasion, the party decreed the “self-expulsion” of Arce and Choquehuanca, for not attending the meeting, and of 20 other deputies aligned with the Arce government.
Guatemala is facing one of its most critical political crises in the last three decades following the surprise victory of progressive anti-corruption presidential candidate Bernardo Arévalo on Aug. 20. The crisis stems from what many Guatemalans see as an attempt by officials accused of corruption to undermine and cast doubt on the legitimacy of the results of the country’s democratic process in order to protect their interests. In response, citizens and social movements have mobilized to defend the Central American country’s democracy as public officials attempt to undermine the will of the people.
On August 20, Ecuadorians went to the polls to elect a new president just over two years since the previous presidential elections of 2021. Luisa González of the Citizens’ Revolution party topped the poll with 33%. But since no candidate achieved the necessary threshold to win in the first round, the election will now be decided via a run-off election in October. She will face political newcomer Daniel Noboa of the center-right National Democratic Action Party, who surprised political observers by placing second in a crowded field with 24% of votes counted. González’s party was founded by former firebrand socialist president Rafael Correa after his original party, Country Alliance, became sullied by his successor Lenin Moreno.
Less than a month after a surprise designation as the presidential candidate of the Citizens’ Revolution, polls show Luisa González as the favorite to win the elections in Ecuador, far ahead of her closest opponent. Her candidacy’s strong point lies in being endorsed by the Citizens’ Revolution (RC) movement, led by former President Rafael Correa. This movement has won three consecutive presidential elections: firstly with Correa from 2007 to 2017, followed by Lenín Moreno’s term from 2017 to 2021. It was only in the 2021 presidential elections that the movement faced defeat in the runoff against current President Guillermo Lasso.
A controversial bill proposed by Belgian Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne calling to ban ‘rioters’ from participating in protests has drawn widespread criticism. Working class sections and rights groups claim that provisions of the bill can be misused to brand trade unionists and activists as rioters and curtail their freedom to participate in protest and strikes. Earlier this week, due to fierce opposition from legislators of the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB-PVDA) in the Justice Committee of the Chamber of the Belgian Parliament, Quickenborne backed down from asking for an immediate vote on the bill.
Guatemala’s notoriously corrupt right-wing government has blocked a prominent leftist Indigenous leader from running in the June 2023 presidential election, in a move that international observers have condemned as an “electoral coup”. Nearly half of Guatemalans (44%) identify as Indigenous. The Movement for the Liberation of the Peoples (MLP) is a left-wing party that was created to represent the First Nations who have for so long been ignored by Guatemala’s political system. The MLP is led by Thelma Cabrera, a social movement activist and human rights defender from the Maya Mam community. She has pledged to fight poverty in Guatemala (one of the poorest countries in the region), resist neoliberalism, and establish a plurinational state that gives full rights to Indigenous nations, like Bolivia. The newly created MLP party ran for the first time in the 2019 presidential election.
Rural teacher and trade unionist Pedro Castillo has had a troubled presidency. From the beginning, he faced attempts by the right wing in parliament, where the extreme right predominates, to remove him. However, he was also weakened by his abandonment of campaign proposals that raised many hopes among Peruvians, the serious shortcomings of his management, repeated signs of ineffectiveness, questioned appointments, and corruption scandals. There were four attempts to remove him from the presidency before Castillo decided to attempt carrying out his own coup against Congress, trying to shut it down in an unconstitutional decision that failed. Castillo surprisingly won the 2021 elections. In a fragmented election, he went to the second round with 19 percent of the votes and narrowly defeated Keiko Fujimori.
Mexico City, Mexico - On Sunday, November 27, hundreds of thousands of Mexicans flooded the streets of the capital Mexico City in support of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and his pro-people policies. People of all ages and from all walks of life arrived in the capital from different states of the country to participate in the march called by President AMLO to commemorate his four years in office. Supporters began gathering in the Paseo de la Reforma avenue early in the morning. At around 9 am (local time), they began marching from the Angel of Independence monument to the Zócalo, waving flags and enthusiastically singing the president’s name in chorus: “Obrador, Obrador, Obrador…” Soon, they were joined by the governors, deputies, and senators of the ruling center-left National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party as well as family members of the president. President AMLO also joined the sea of people who were eagerly waiting for him. .
Colombia’s first ever left-wing President Gustavo Petro made history on November 1 by visiting his neighbor Venezuela, officially normalizing relations after years of hostility. After a meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, the two leaders signed a joint declaration pledging to unify the countries and integrate Latin America, following the anti-imperialist model of Simón Bolívar. Petro said it is “suicidal” to divide the countries, “because we are the same people,” in “historically one single Bolivarian nation, reunited.” The presidents symbolically posed for photos in front of large portraits of Bolívar, the revolutionary general who led a successful armed uprising against Spanish colonialism and established many of the modern states of South America.
The Worker’s Party in Brazil has just won the most contested election in the country’s history. From a jailed politician up until 2019 to now the president elect with the largest amount of votes in the country’s history, Lula built a formidable coalition in order to overcome all obstacles, smears, and illegal use of public funds that would be used against him. The extent to which Bolsonaro moved every lever he could to get reelected cannot be overstated. At the beginning of the year, the federal government pushed through Congress a 50% increase in the direct cash payment program “Auxilio Brasil”, Bolsonaro’s rebranded version of “Bolsa Familia”, a worker’s party program. The move also expanded to include more families on the program. Then, after the first round of voting, his administration used State-owned banks to start offering government-backed micro-loans to beneficiaries of Auxilio Brasil.
The ManiFiesta 2022 festival, organized at the Wellington racetrack in the Belgian city of Ostend from September 17-18, concluded with a resolve to mobilize for alternatives for the future. The 12th edition of ManiFiesta was organized by the Solidarity magazine and Medicine For the People (MPLP). Over 14,000 people participated. Around 160 events including political discussions, speeches, debates, book fairs, exhibitions, a food festival, and 35 concerts were organized as part of the festival. Raoul Hedebouw, president of the Workers Party of Belgium (PTB/PVDA), Bolivian Vice-President David Choquehuanca, Chris Mitchell from the Enough is Enough movement in the UK, Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi, Holocaust survivor Simon Gronowski, British economist Grace Blakeley, author and PTB leader Peter Mertens...