It was clear at the recent Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of the Mother Earth in Cochabamba that Latin America´s leftist leaders are taking strong positions on issues of environmental sustainability and respect for indigenous people. But is that rhetoric actually borne out by their domestic policies?
Much has been made of Latin America´s ‘leftist tide’ in the last decade. After disappointment with Washington Consensus Policies such as privatization, trade liberalization and deregulation, the last decade saw the assent of nine nominally ‘leftist’ governments in Latin America, promising to sweep away neo-liberal orthodoxies and redistribute wealth to the poor. Not only that, they promised to break with economic ‘dependency’ on the developed world and chart their own paths. But did the new leaders insulate their countries from the worst of the recession, or make them more vulnerable to it?