A few usual suspects (Nicaragua, but also Cuba and Venezuela) might have been the most visible in watering down language on Russia’s war in Ukraine in the final declarations of the EU-Latin America summit earlier this week – but the war has pushed many other Latin American nations to break free from the traditional alignment of their foreign policy with more powerful allies in the northern hemisphere too.
In Latin America, there is the realisation that Europe might need the continent more than ever if it wants to make its economies less dependent on Russian fossil fuels and Chinese production capacities without totally giving up on ‘Green Deal’ targets. But even more, there is a growing awareness, that, in the emerging geo-political rivalry between Europe and the US on one side and China and Russia on the other, Latin America’s interests might be best served by a careful balancing act between all those power centres of the northern hemisphere. A ‘pragmatic ambiguity’, as one of our authors writes.
However, while new rights – for women, indigenous communities, or nature itself – are promoted in many Latin American countries, democracy is under strain in many of them. Often this is due to the returning ghosts of far-right movements – in this aspect, the continent does not stand out from much of the Western World – but often it is also furthered by the increasing presence of the military in high-level civil positions. And in the face of dysfunctional institutions, an increasing number of citizens say they would accept elected ‘caudillos’.
With this dossier, the Progressive Post wants to put in the spotlight a continent that the EU will increasingly rely on in the future, but in which the bloc should be more present too for its defence of fundamental values and human rights, as Spanish prime minister Pedro Sánchez has stated at the beginning of the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union.