Economic and migration crises keep new left leaders away from Chavismo

Leaders of the New Left in Latin America are also more fearful because Chavismo is quite obscene.

Immediately after leftist Gustavo Petro’s victory in Colombia, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was quick to celebrate “radical changes” in the relations between the two countries. The first signs, however, show some distance between the neighbors.

The reason for this, according to analysts, is the pressure caused by the migration and economic crises that plagued South America. In practice, Venezuela has become a headache for left-wing governments, which are forced to constantly undergo a voter sieve, unlike Chavistas, who are more sensitive to popularity indicators and popular mood.

New Left leaders in Latin America are also more fearful because Chavismo is not very popular. Therefore, according to analysts who spoke to Estadão, apart from Petr, the Chilean Gabriel Boric and the Peruvian Pedro Castillo still do not know how to deal with Venezuelan authoritarianism.

REFUGEES. “Venezuela has become a problem not only because of the dictatorial nature of its government, but because it is a government that has an open process of investigation and accountability for crimes against humanity,” said Javier Rodríguez-Franco of the university. de Salamanca.

“These new leaders have two challenges that they don’t know how to solve. one is how to deal politically with the Maduro government, the other is how to solve the massive migration crisis that forces hundreds of Venezuelans to cross the border every day. “.

According to the UN, there are more than 6 million Venezuelan refugees in the world. Colombia is the top destination, receiving 1.8 million, making the Venezuela issue a sensitive topic, with more than 50% of Colombians opposed to regularization of immigrants, according to a 40dB poll for Spanish newspaper El País. Next, the top receiving countries are Peru, Ecuador, USA and Chile.

The migration crisis is compounded by inflation, which is eroding the popularity of these new leaders. Venezuelans who escaped hyperinflation above 100% are now also finding excessive rates in many countries in the region.


However, there is a lack of consensus on how to deal with crises. According to Chilean analysts, Borich wants to leave Maduro. “He hates the Venezuelan government,” said Jaime Baeza, a professor at the Institute of Public Affairs at the University of Chile. “During the campaign, Borich called Venezuela and Nicaragua dictatorships. It even created tension within their coalition, because the Communist Party didn’t like it.”

RISK. Baeza notes that Boric’s Chancellor Antonia Urreyola served in the OAS as the head of the Nicaraguan regime’s fight against political persecution. “He admitted that both Nicaragua and Venezuela worry him,” he said.

“We are not talking about the same leftists as in the 2000s. Now the New Left is making political calculations about Venezuela,” explains Maria Isabel Puerta Riera, professor of international politics at Valencia College in Florida.

“There is indirect solidarity. Argentina, for example, continues to treat Chavismo as legitimate. It is not the same with Borich and Petro. They know that treating Chavismo as an equal has great political value.”


That is why during the campaign, Petro tried to separate his image from Maduro, to show himself less radical and to leave his guerrilla past. But even before taking office, he talked with the Venezuelan about reopening the border, which has been closed since 2019.

His victory in Colombia, on the one hand, is also a political victory for Maduro, who will finally have more friendly relations with Bogotá. But it also puts an end to Chavismo’s favorite rhetoric of blaming Colombia for Venezuela’s problems.

But not all representatives of the Latin American New Left think alike. Unlike Petro and Boric, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez was one of the first to criticize Venezuela’s isolation. in March, he withdrew Argentina from the Lima Group, which recognized Juan Guaido as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

Mexican Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador also approached Maduro. A populist style aligned with Chavismo, he instigated a boycott of the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles in June, protesting that the United States had not invited Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba to the event.


COOPERATION. The same goes for Bolivian Luis Arce. Although he does not have the same physical relationship with Chavismo that his political godfather Evo Morales had, Arce reestablished diplomatic relations with Caracas. In May, he joined Maduro at the Bolivarian Alliance for Our American Peoples (Alba) summit in Havana.

Peruvian President Pedro Castillo has also restored relations with Venezuela, but his relationship with Maduro is uneasy. In February, he said he would not want to follow the Chavista model. In response, Maduro said Castillo represented a “failed and cowardly left.”



Gabriel Borich


The president of Chile avoids ties with Maduro. After his victory at the polls, he criticized the human rights situation in Venezuela, comparing Chavista to former Chilean president Sebastian Piñera.

Pedro Castillo

The president of Peru said that he would not want to follow the Chavista model. In response, Maduro said Castillo represented a “failed and cowardly left.”

Gustavo Petro

The Colombian president considered Maduro’s absence from the inauguration “prudent”. However, it maintains a more cooperative relationship with Venezuela even out of pragmatism, as the two countries share a porous border.

Luis Arce

Despite having the same relationship with Chavismo as Evo Morales, the Bolivian president is still an ally of Maduro. One of his first steps after being elected in 2020 was to reestablish diplomatic relations with Venezuela.

López Obrador

The populist style of the Mexican president suits Maduro. Recently, Obrador stepped down and did not go to the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, because the United States did not invite Venezuela. Maduro praised the Mexican who thanked him.

Alberto Fernandez

The president of Argentina has always been against the attempt to isolate Venezuela. In March, he withdrew from the Lima Group, which recognizes Juan Guaido as Venezuela’s president, and moved away from a hard line against Maduro.

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