Policy Dynamics of the pink tide of regime change in Latin America

Main Article Content

Henry Veltmeyer


The purpose of this paper is to advance an argument that might explain the dynamics of recent political developments in Latin America. The argument is constructed as follows. First, I review the dynamics of what Raúl Zibechi (2012) has described as the new geoeconomics of capital in Latin America and the corresponding politics. The paper then elaborates on certain dynamics associated with the political economy of two types of capitalism, with reference here to the particular way in which these forms of capital are combined in the current context of capitalist development in the region. The third part of the paper provides a brief review of the economic and political dynamics that led to the pink tide of regime change in South America. Subsequently, we provide a brief review and analysis of the policy dynamics of the governments formed in the wake of this seatide of regime change and the associated progressive cycle in Latin American politics. The paper then turns towards the recent pendulum swing of electoral politics towards the hard right of neoliberal policy reform. The paper ends with a brief discussion of the forces that might be involved in what appears to be the end of the progressive cycle. The conclusion is that the answer can be found in various contradictions of extractive capitalism.

Article Details

How to Cite
Veltmeyer, H. . (2020). Policy Dynamics of the pink tide of regime change in Latin America . nuestrAmérica Journal of Social Research, 1(1), e001. Retrieved from http://nuestramerica.cl/ojs/index.php/socialresearch/article/view/e001
Author Biography

Henry Veltmeyer, Universidad de Saint Mary

Profesor e investigador de Sociología y Estudios de Desarrollo Internacional en la Universidad de Saint Mary, Nueva Escocia, Canadá


Abya Yala—Movimientos Indígenas, Campesinos y Sociales. 2009. “Diálogo de Alternativas y Alianzas”. Minga Informativa de Movimientos Sociales. La Paz, 26 de Febrero.

Acosta, Alberto. 2009. La maldición de la abundancia. Quito: Ediciones Abya-Yala.

Acosta, Alberto. 2011. “Extractivismo y neoextractivismo: dos caras de la misma maldición”. En Más allá del Desarrollo, compilado por Miriam Lang y Dunia Mokra. Quito: Fundación Rosa Luxemburgo/Abya Yala. http://www.rosalux.org.mx/docs/Mas_alla_del_desarrollo.pdf

Acosta, Alberto y Decio Machado. 2012. “Movimientos comprometidos con la vida. Ambientalismos y conflictos actuales en América Latina”. Revista OSAL. Buenos Aires: CLACSO. https://lalineadefuego.info/2012/10/01/ambientalismos-y-conflictos-actuales-en-america-latina-movimientos-comprometidos-con-la-vida-por-alberto-acosta-y-decio-machado/

Arellano, M. 2010. “Canadian Foreign Direct Investment in Latin America,” Background Paper, Ottawa, North-South Institute, May.

Araghi, F. 2010. “Accumulation by Displacement, Global Enclosures, Food Crisis and and the Economic Contradictions of Capitalism,” Review, 32, 1: 113–146.i

Barkin, D. and A. Sánchez. 2017. “The Collective Revolutionary Subject: New Forms of Social Transformation,” Unedited Paper for Revolutions: A Conference, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, September.

Bebbington, A. and J. Bury, eds. 2013. Subterranean Struggles: New Dynamics of Mining, Oil and Gas in Latin America. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press.

Berry, B. 2010. “The Natural Resource Curse in 21st Century Latin America,” Canada Watch, Fall, pp.23-24.

Blas, Javier. 2013. “Commodity Traders reap $250bn harvest,” Financial Times, April, 14.

Bollier, D. 2014. “The Commons as a Template for Transformation,” Great Transformation Initiative, April. www.greattransition.org/publication/the-commons-as-a-template-for-transformation.

Bollier, D., and H. Silke. 2012. The Wealth of the Commons: A World Beyond Market and State. Amherst: Levelers Press.

Borón A. 2008. “Teorías de la dependencia,” Realidad Económica, 238, agosto-septiembre.

Borón, A. 2012. América Latina en la geopolítica del imperialism. Buenos Aires: Ediciones Luxemburg.

Borras Jr. S., J. Franco, S. Gomez, C. Kay and M. Spoor. 2012. “Land Grabbing in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Journal of Peasant Studies, 39, 3–4: 845–872.

Bresser-Pereira, L.C. 2006. “El Nuevo Desarrollismo y la Ortodoxia Convencional,” Economía UNAM, 4(10): 7–29.

Bresser-Pereira, L.C. 2007. “Estado y Mercado en el Nuevo Desarrollismo,” Nueva Sociedad, No. 210, Julio-Agosto.

Bresser-Pereira, L.C. 2009. Developing Brazil: Overcoming the Failure of the Washington Consensus. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

CEPAL – Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe. 2004-2017. Anuarios Estadísticos de América Latina y el Caribe. Santiago de Chile.

Cypher, James. 2010. “South America’s Commodities Boom. Developmental Opportunity or Path Dependent Reversion?” Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 30(3–4): 635–662.

Dangl, B. 2007. The Price of Fire: Resource Wars and Social Movements in Bolivia. Oakland CA: AK Press.

ECLAC. 2012. Capital Flows to Latin America and the Caribbean. Recent Developments. Washington DC: ECLAC.

ECLAC. 2015. Social Panorama of Latin America. Santiago: ECLAC.

Fine, B., C. Lapavitsas and J. Pincus, eds. 2001. Development Policy in the Twenty-First Century: Beyond the Post-Washington Consensus. London: Routledge.

Giarracca, N. and M. Teubal. 2014. “Argentina: Extractivist Dynamics of Soy Production and Open-Pit Mining,” in H. Veltmeyer and J. Petras, The New Extractivism. London: Zed Books.

Grugel, J. and Riggirozzi, P. 2009. Governance after Neoliberalism in Latin America. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Gudynas, E. 2009. “Diez tesis urgentes sobre el nuevo extractivismo. Contextos y demandas bajo el progresismo sudamericano actual.”’ In Extractivismo, Política y Sociedad. Quito: CAAP.

Gudynas, E. 2011. “Más allá del nuevo extractivismo: transiciones sostenibles y alternativas al desarrollo,” in Fernanda Wanderley (ed.). El desarrollo en cuestión. Reflexiones desde América Latina. La Paz: Oxfam /CIDES-UMSA.

Harrup, A. 2019. “South America suffers from the end of commodities boom,” The Wall Street Journal, May 17.

Higginbottom, A. 2013. “The Political Economy of Foreign Investment in Latin America: Dependency Revisited,” Latin American Perspectives, 40.

Konold, M. 2013. “Commodity Supercycle Slows Down in 2012,” Worldwatch Institute, October 10.

Kotze, C. 2012. “South American Mining Sector to Continue as Resource-Based Economy,” Mining Weekly, June 15. http://www.mining weekly.com/article/south-american-mining-sector-to-continue-as-resource-based-economy-2012-06-15.

Lewis, P., S. Clarke and C. Barr. 2019. “People Power: do populist leaders actually reduce inequality?” The Guardian Weekly, March 15.

Lomeli, E. 2013. “Conditional cash transfers asocial policy: limitations and illusions”. In H. Veltmeyer and D. Tetreault (eds.) Poverty and Development in Latin America. Sterling, VA: Stylus, pp. 163–88.

López Segrera, F. 2016. América Latina: crisis del posneoliberalismo y ascenso de la nueva derecha. Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

Machado, D. and R. Zibechi. 2016. Cambiar el mundo desde arriba. Los límites del progresismo. La Paz: CEDLA (Centro de Estudios para el Desarrollo Laboral y Agrario).

Martins, C.E. 2011. Globalizacao, Dependencia e Neoliberalismo na América Latina. Sao Paulo: Boitempo.

Marx, K. 1975[1866]. Capital, Vol. 1. Mexico: Siglo XXI.

Ocampo, J. A. 2007. “The Macroeconomics of the Latin American Economic Boom,” CEPAL Review 93.

O’Connor, J. 1998. Natural Causes: Essays in Ecological Marxism. New York/London: Guilford Press.

Petras, J. and H. Veltmeyer. 2001. Globalization Unmasked: Imperialism in the 21 st Century. London: ZED Press / Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

Petras, J. and H. Veltmeyer. 2009. Espejismos de la Izquierda en América Latina. Buenos Aires: Editorial Lumen.

Porzecanski, A. 2009. “Latin America: The missing financial crisis,”, Studies and Perspectives, No. 6, Washington DC: ECLAC.

Rathbone, P. 2013. “Doubts come to surface about ‘the decade of Latin America’,” Financial Times, May 12.

Redclift, M. 1987. Sustainable Development: Exploring the Contradictions. London: Methuen.

Sotelo A. 2000. “¿Globalización: estancamiento o crisis en América Latina?” Problemas de Desarrollo, 120 (enero-marzo).

Sotelo, A. 2009. Neo-imperialismo, dependencia e novas periferias.” A América Latina e os desafíos da globalizaca. Rio de Janeiro: Boitempo.

Svampa, M. 2012. “Consenso de los commodities y megaminería.” In América Latina en Movimiento. Extractivismo: Contradicciones y conflictividad. Quito: Agencia Latinoamericana de Información (ALAI), pp. 5–8.

Svampa M, and M. Antonelli, eds. 2009. Minería transnacional, narrativas del desarrollo y resistencias sociales. Buenos Aires: Biblos.

Svampa, M. 2017. Del cambio de época al fin de ciclo: gobiernos progresistas, extractivismo, y movimientos sociales en América Latina. Buenos Aires: Edhasa.

Svampa, M. 2019. Las fronteras del neoextractivismo en América Latina. Bielefeld: Bielefeld University Press.

UNCTAD – United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. 2007. World Investment Report. Transnational Corporations, Extractive Industries and Development. Geneva: United Nations.

UNCTAD. 2011. World Investment Report. Non-Equity Modes of International Production and Development. Geneva: United Nations UNCTAD (2012), “Investment Trend Monitor,” No. 8, New York, United Nations, January 24.

Veltmeyer, H. 2017. “Resistance, Class Struggle and Social Movements in Latin America: Contemporary Dynamics,” Revista Theomai, No. 35, First semester, pp.52-71.

Veltmeyer, H. 2010. “The Global Crisis and Latin America,” in M. Konings (ed.) Beyond the Subprime Headlines: Critical Perspectives on the Financial Crisis. London: Verso.

Veltmeyer, H. and J. Petras. 2014. The New Extractivism in Latin America. London: Zed Books.

Vidal Molina, P., ed. 2019. Neodesarrollismo y socialismo bolivariano modelos de desarrollo y políticas públicas en américa latina. Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

Wheatley, J. 2014. “Emerging markets adapt to ‘new normal’ as markets adapt to ‘new normal’ as commodities cycle,” Financial Times, October 5.

Zibechi, R. 2012. “La nueva geopolítica del capital,” ALAI, América Latina en Movimiento, Abril 19. Le Monde Diplomatique Colombia, abril.