In her dining room, my home stay mother in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has a 10-year-old photo of four Latin American leaders interlocking hands — Néstor Kirchner of Argentina, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Luiz Lula of Brazil, and Evo Morales of Bolivia.
The photo captures an amazing moment in the 525-year history since Christopher Columbus initiated the pillaging of the New World. These four leaders were not only democratically elected, but represented a newfound independence on the continent that dismissed the marching orders of the United States and other colonial powers. Today only Morales remains in power. Kirchner and Chávez are dead, while Lula’s successor Dilma Rousseff was ousted in what amounted to a legislative coup before the 2016 Olympics, and replaced by CIA stooge Michel Temer.
The crumbling of Latin American populism and the overall rightward shift of the continent has plunged Argentina into a political crisis not seen since its economic collapse in 2001. Work is hard to come by and more than 40 percent inflation is strangling the average citizen’s wallet. But to listen to the country’s right-wing businessman president, Macuro Macri, who gave a joint address to the legislature last week, his tenure has been a huge success.
“I don’t hate people,” Ana Laura Lobo, my study abroad group’s academic director said. “But I hate him.”
To give an idea to readers back in the United States how out of…