In: Jahrbuch für Historische Kommunismusforschung 2009. Berlin: Aufbau-Verlag, S. 269–282
This article gives a review of the development of left policy in Latin America since the breakdown of the Eastern Bloc in 1989/90. It concludes that mainly regional factors provoked the actual “Renaissance of the Left” – consisting in a majority of governments in this continent that define themselves as left.
At the beginning of the 90s, the continent was marked by a “double transition” towards democracy and neo-liberalism. The end of the “actually existing socialism” did not initiate the difficult situation of the Left, it just aggravated it. Likewise, primarily regional factors, especially the failure of neo-liberal economic policies, might explain the actual upturn of left politics in Latin America.
By now, the spectrum of political orientation of the Left proves to be very widespread and differentiated. Nevertheless, two major tendencies may be identified. On the one hand, there is a trend towards social democracy, headed by Brazil and Chile, and on the other hand, we find populist governments exemplified by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela.