Volume 44, Number 175,
October-December 2013

Revolutionary Progress in Latin America , Rémy Herrera, Fedaeps, Ecuador, 2012.

In this book, Rémy Herrera introduces the revolutions, insurrections, changes to economic policy, democratic and anti-imperialistic transformations that have taken place in Latin America, describing the varied realities and challenges facing the so-called emerging countries in this region, the extreme dependence they have had on the United States since the Monroe Doctrine (1823) and up through the present day with Obama.

This book consists of five chapters, beginning with an introduction and historical summary of important events, such as the current crisis in the United States. It analyzes the structural crisis of capitalism as a global system, rather than just looking at its temporary form, known as neoliberalism. In this first section, the author classifies revolutionary progress and the countries where these advances have occurred into four categories. The first category includes the most radical, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist revolutions. The second encompasses countries that have initiated significant revolutionary processes but not yet consolidated them. There are countries that have a popular base and progressive leaders, but they have been limited. Without going into detail as to the reasons, this third category would include Brazil, Argentina and Chile, among others. The fourth group has Mexico, Peru and Colombia. Although these nations have popular resistance, they still have more right wing or extreme right wing regimes.

The first chapter, “The Key to Anti-Capitalist and Anti-Imperialist Resistance: Socialist Cuba,” Herrera describes how only Cuba has managed to maintain an anti-capitalist regime in the long term, providing a review of the history of social conflict and significant moments for the country since 1511, as well as the slavery that existed from the time of the conquest up through the Cuban Revolution uprising in 1959, the economic difficulties the country faced following the collapse of the USSR in 1991 and the economic crisis that worsened with the United States embargo in 1992. This chapter analyzes the last 50 years of the Cuban Revolution and the main difference as compared to other countries in Latin America, which the author calls the "tangible success" of a socialist political system.

The second chapter provides a detailed study on Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador and their anti-neoliberal and anti-capitalist revolutions. Reviewing the history of oil in Venezuela and the appearance of Hugo Chávez Frías as president, as well as the nation’s history with the United States, the author proceeds to enumerate all of the major events that have attracted global attention in terms of new economic policy in Latin America with a more socialist approach.

The third chapter examines Brazil, Argentina, Chile under President Michelle Bachelet and Uruguay, as well as the popular movements and economic policies that, according to the author, were always subject to the forces of imperialism, despite the fact that they are considered "progressive" or "leftist." Even Brazil, where Lula da Silva came to power and the nation became one of the fastest growing countries, Rémy Herrera still considers it a neoliberal project. Brazil has continued privatizing key sectors, has the same social inequality it had years ago and continues to serve the financial interests of the United States.

The fourth chapter is called “The Increase in Popular Backlash Against Reactionary Regimes: Mexico, Colombia, Honduras,” where the author provides a complete analysis of the history of armed social movements, oil, free trade agreements, the industrialization processes of these nations and other factors to describe the features of states governed by the “right” and extreme right.

The final chapter, “The Dawn of Alternative Regionalization or the Difficult Path to a Multipolar World: Alba, Mercosur, Unasur, eclac […]” provides an analysis of the regionalization that has emerged in Latin America. Up through the year 2000, the United States either implemented or neutralized these agreements as was convenient. One example is the failure of the ftaa (Free Trade Area of the Americas), which sought to establish a new foreign free trade zone, market liberalization, the elimination of free trade restrictions, and more. The agreement had been set up between unequal partners and its defeat was marked by the consequences of that fact. alba (The Bolivian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas) was conceived in 2004 as a regional alternative to the ftaa. The author reflects on how the alliance has evolved and what benefits it has brought to the region to strengthen relations between these countries and help liberate them from the mandate of the United States.

This book provides precise historical information with regards to the most relevant events in the history of Latin America, divided up and explained by country and region. It also describes the political transitions and social movements that have most defined the paths, sometimes quite different, that the countries in the region have taken and their close relationships with the United States.

Héctor González Lima
Institute of Economic Research – unam

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Published in Mexico, 2012-2017 © D.R. Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM).
PROBLEMAS DEL DESARROLLO. REVISTA LATINOAMERICANA DE ECONOMÍA, Volume 49, Number 192, January-March is a quarterly publication by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México, D.F. by Instituto de Investigaciones Económicas, Circuito Mario de la Cueva, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán,
CP 04510, México, D.F. Tel (52 55) 56 23 01 05 and (52 55) 56 24 23 39, fax (52 55) 56 23 00 97, www.probdes.iiec.unam.mx, revprode@unam.mx. Journal Editor: Alicia Girón González. Reservation of rights to exclusive use of the title: 04-2012-070613560300-203, ISSN: pending. Person responsible for the latest update of this issue: Minerva García, Circuito Maestro Mario de la Cueva s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, CP 04510, México D.F., latest update: Feb 23th, 2018.
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