As of now, the Latin American left has lost in elections in Argentina and Peru while, the right wing parties have removed the left presidents in Brazil and Paraguay through constitutional coups. In Venezuela, though the leftist president Maduro is still in saddle, the deteriorating economic situation as also the parliamentary majority of the right, have created a situation against the serving president. At this moment, Moreno’s victory defying the combined onslaught of the right and the big business is the result of the pro-people programmes of his predecessor R Correa in the last ten years. Under Mr. Correa, the poverty level has come down from 40 per cent in 2006 to 23 per cent in 2016 and he has brought about vast improvement in the standard of living of the poor people by doubling the social spending.

Ecuador is a small country with a population of 16 million and US$ 100 billion GDP. Like other Latin American countries, Ecuador has also suffered due to decline in oil and commodity prices but President Correa has managed the country’s economic problems in a much more pragmatic manner compared to other countries like Brazil and Venezuela. China, which is a major trade partner in Latin American countries these days, has given big help to Ecuador in the key areas of oil, mining and infrastructure. The new President elect Moreno is scheduled to take over from Correa next month and he is expected to continue with the existing policies of Correa who is one of the most popular presidents in Latin America.

Despite Moreno’s slender victory at the presidential elections against the rightist banker candidate G Lasso, the fact remains that the overwhelming support for Correa during his first term 2007-13, has been dwindling and this is on the lines of the decline of the influence of the Left in the region and the aggressive posturing of the right taking into account the economic woes of the left led governments. That way Moreno will be facing a tough time even after taking over the presidentship after R. Correa. The president elect has to take effective steps to improve further policies for the majority of the Ecuadorian people who have been highly benefitted during the Correa regime.

As of now, the right is in offensive in the other countries where it has come to power removing the left. In Brazil, President Michel Temer who came to power by removing the elected president Dilma Rousseff through a coup by a combination of corrupt parliamentarians is being investigated for corrupt practices. He has taken steps to undo all the pro-poor schemes introduced by the Luiz Lula da Silva government and then followed up by Dilma Rousseff. After the initial demoralization, Brazilian workers and students are organizing massive demonstrations throughout the country. The presidential elections are due in Brazil in 2018 and indications are that if former president Lula again stands, he will comfortably win. But the rightist parties are trying to see that Lula is not allowed to contest and the government is framing corruption cases against the former president who at one time had the popular rating of 86 per cent of the electorate in Brazil.

Though, there has been big setback for the Left in the last five years in Latin America, the Left continues to rule in Bolivia, Chile, Uruguay and also in Venezuela with Maduro as president but without majority support in Parliament. The presidential elections are in due in Chile later this year and in Brazil next year. The Left is worried that the US president Trump and his advisers will now focus on Latin America and the Trump administration will help the anti Left forces in a big way in the coming elections to ensure that the right parties come to power. The present right wing leaders in the Latin American countries are the clones of the US president and most of them are businessmen with big wealth and investments. In Brazil, the rightwing opposition leader Joao Doria who might run for Presidency in 2018, is called Donald Trump of Brazil while one of the richest persons in Venezuela Henrique Capriles, is likely to stand against Maduro in the next presidential elections.

Seasoned Latin American observers feel that the Trump administration will openly back the rightists in the next round of presidential elections and the first priority will be Venezuela where already, the ground has been prepared by the media and the big business against president Maduro. At the same time, the left leaders point out that brazen intervention by the US might go against the rightist parties since generally, the mood is anti-US in these countries and the common people do not like any big brother attitude of any country. That way, even the chances of Mexico’s leftist candidate Andres Manuel Obrador, have become brighter in the presidential elections in 2018 as a result of US president’s talk of building wall along borders with Mexico.

The erstwhile US president Barack Obama might have acted in easing political and economic relations with Cuba, but his administration has been pro active in assisting the opposition forces in Brazil, Argentina and Peru in fighting the ruling left governments of that period. That policy is expected to be further strengthened under the Trump regime as the situation is now much more favorable for the US and the right wing parties in view of the growing economic problems as a result of fall in oil and commodity prices. The Latin American left has got some boost as a result of Ecuadorian victory but it has an uphill task to organize to defeat the rightwing onslaught in Latin American continent. The Left has taken some lessons .If the Left combination in Brazil is able to properly lead the movement of the masses against the rightwing president Temer for his anti-people policies, there are good prospects of the Left victory in the presidential elections in 2018 if Lula is the candidate. Once that happens, that can be turning point again in the politics of Latin America. (IPA service)