‘Venezuela: Changing the World by Taking Power’

‘Venezuela: Changing the World by Taking Power’, and interview with Tariq Ali by Claudia Jardim and Jonah Gindin for Venezuela Analysis, July 22, 2004

How do you explain the explosion in social movements against neoliberalism in Latin America?

I think the reason for this is that Latin America was used as a laboratory by the United States for a long, long time. Everything the US wanted was experimented in Latin America first. When they wanted military—on the political level—when they wanted to crush popular movements by unleashing military dictatorships they did it in Latin America first: Brazil, Argentina, Chile; three of the most brutal dictatorships we have seen. Then, after the collapse of the communist enemy, they relaxed on the political front but they got Latin America in a grip economically, and they said ‘this is the only way forward.’ We can summarize it like this: the laboratory of the American Empire is the first to rebel against the Empire. So many many different and interesting processes are happening in Latin America and I think where the left is weak is in its inability to bring these together and to refound the Latin American left.

What began to happen in Latin America is a process of de-industrialization; foreign investments coming in. In the most classic examples were Chile under Pinochet, then Brazil under Cardoso and Argentina under successive governments. read more