Roger Burbach, the co-author of Latin America's Turbulent Transitions: The Future of 21st Century Socialism, wrote this open letter to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden on July 15. It first appeared at www.futuresocialism.com -- where you can also order the book. * * *
Hugo Chavez cut a wide swath on the international scene, more than that of any other leader in the recent history of Latin America, putting forth a vision of a world based on equitable relations among nations and peoples. His rise to hemispheric prominence began at the third Summit of the Americas in April 2001 in Quebec, Canada when the newly inaugurated George W. Bush attempted to ram through the Free Trade Area of the Americas that was to extend from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego in South America.
The Occupy protests are part of a global movement that is questioning the basic structures of the political and economic system to an extent not seen since 1968. Whether it will succeed in changing these structures is unclear. But, Roger Burbach says, it has already created something far more powerful: a global shift in consciousness. * * * “Shut It Down”, “No More Shipping for the 1%” and “Death to Capitalism” proclaimed some of the banners near me as I joined thousands of demonstrators who converged on the Port of Oakland on a sunny afternoon in November.
Chile is becoming a part of the global movement of youth that is transforming the world bit by bit. Weeks of demonstrations and strikes by Chilean students came to a head on August 9, as an estimated 100,000 people poured into the streets of Santiago. Joined by professors and educators, they demanded a free education for all from primary school to university. Police fired tear gas canisters into the crowds and 273 people were arrested.
The two-month-old government of leftist Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa and the popular movements that back him have emerged triumphant in their first battle with the oligarchy and the traditional political parties that have historically dominated the country. Correa in his inaugural address in January called for an opening to a “new socialism of the 21st century” and declared that Ecuador has to end “the perverse system that has destroyed our democracy, our economy and our society”.