Ryan Mallett-Outtrim

Much has been made of US President Donald Trump’s potential impact on Mexico, but one critical story has been largely ignored in the Western media.

Coverage of Mexico in the Trump era has been dominated by speculation over the fate of the stumbling Mexican peso, the possibility of the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) collapsing and, of course, the wall.

Meanwhile, a seismic shift is quietly taking place in Mexican politics: the right wing is the weakest it has been in generations, while the left is seeing a historic resurgence.

New Year’s Day is usually a moment of peace in the chaos of Mexico City — but not this year. For Mexicans, 2017 began with nationwide protests against the government’s plans to deregulate petrol prices, a move opponents say will hurt everyone from the poor to middle class.

Since January 1, protests have only continued to spread, with almost daily demonstrations in nearly every large city. Major highways have also been blockaded by furious transport workers, who say they can’t keep up with rising prices at the bowser.

After a year of political turmoil, Venezuela turned a corner recently, at least according to an eye-catching October 21 op-ed in The Washington Post. Titled “It’s official: Venezuela is a full-blown dictatorship”, the piece claimed the country has become an “all-out, no-more-elections dictatorship”.

Venezuelan foreign minister Delcy Rodriguez called on the United States to pull out of its military bases across Latin America on October 6.

In a fierce speech, Rodriguez labelled the US military presence across the region as a threat to peace and stability.

“We denounce the presence of 70 US bases in our region, we have to unite and demand the closing of these bases,” said Rodriguez.

The comments were made while Rodriguez addressed the Latin American Summit of Progressive Movements in Quito, Ecuador.

If the horrific attacks in Paris, France have taught us anything, it is that some tragedies matter more than others.

For example, look no further than these headlines:

120 Dead in Paris Attacks, Worst Since WWII (ABC/AP, November 14);
Paris Wakes Up Under Siege After Deadliest Attack Since WWII (The Daily Beast, November 14);


Supporters of Correa and the pro-poor 'Citizens Revolution' flood Quito on June 15.

Ecuador's left-wing President Rafael Correa has called for dialogue with his country's right-wing opposition amid a wave of protests over proposed reforms aimed at taxing the rich.

The anti-government protests that began on June 8 have continued despite Correa's announcement on June 15 that he would temporarily postpone parliamentary debate on two tax measures targeting the ultra-rich.

Australian lawmakers are set to begin debating marriage equality, and the anti-equality brigade is not happy at all.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s managing director Lyle Shelton is the public face of the campaign against marriage equality in Australia.

I certainly don’t agree with him on everything, but I do agree with his motto, which can be aptly summarised by Helen Lovejoy’s catchphrase, “won’t somebody please think of the children.” But for once in my life I should make a minor confession: I mostly agree out of pure narcissism.

This is my open letter to Shelton.

* * *

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has approved Bs40 million (about $6.75 million) in funding for an environmental mission, and announced the creation of a national ecosocialist school.

During a meeting of Venezuela's environmental movement, Maduro called on students and young people to join in state-sponsored environment rehabilitation projects.

Venezuela has commemorated the one year anniversary of the death of former president Hugo Chavez with rallies across the country.

Supporters of the late socialist president turned out in hundreds of thousands for official commemoration services.

In a show of support for the revolutionary process Chavez led, in Caracas crowds in red flooded the city centre for military and civil parades. Supporters of social programs launched under Chavez, along with social movements aligned with the government of President Nicolas Maduro also rallied in the capital.

Venezuelan car workers have slammed multinational car manufacturers for cutting back production in the country. The country's largest trade union federation has called for the industry to be nationalised.

Accusing multinational car companies of being “imperialist”, the National Workers' Union (UNT) has called on the government to place car factories under worker control.

The UNT said: “It's clear that building socialism relies on the working class, indeed the workers' control of the factories.”

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