Peru chooses social democracy over capitalist "democracy"

Some events of note in South America’s last five years:

  • In Bolivia, President Evo Morales presided over the ratification of a new social democratic constitution and was re-elected as president with 64 per cent of the vote. 
  • In Ecuador, President Rafael Correa easily won re-election and ratified a new constitution that guarantees social rights and limits privatization. 
  • Also in Ecuador, the people voted for ten progressive initiatives, including, as an article in Al Jazeera put it,  “the strict regulation of two blood sports: banks are now banned from speculation and bulls can no longer be killed in bull fights.”
  • In Brazil, Lula da Silva left office the world’s most popular politician, handing over the presidency to Dilma Rousseff, a former urban guerrilla and economist who vows to continue Lula’s policies of making Brazil a more humane and equal nation.

Now Peru has joined the swing to social democracy with the election of Ollanta Humala as president. His election should ensure that Peru will join those other South American countries that have been moving democracy away from a neoliberal concept of deregulated capitalism and globalization toward a more humane, sustainable model.

The South American revolution has a definite liberating air about it. For half a millennium the indigenous peoples of that continent have suffered under burdens of exploitation and oppression from both internal and external forces, internally from the European populations beginning with the conquistadors and externally from the United States. Now they are freeing themselves from both and doing it democratically. It is a good thing to see. Spring has sprung, it seems, in South America as well as the Middle East.