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Piñera: “Latin America has always been centre-left”

I’m going to miss Sebastian Piñera, President of Chile, when he leaves office in November. For the entertainment value of the plug dumb stupid things he says, of course. Here’s the latest, as he tried to explain why (Chile’s idea of) left wing candidate Michelle Bachelet was red hot favourite for the November election:

“…Latin America has always been a continent more centre-left than centre-right. You see, the previous and present governments in Latin America, the vast majority are centre-left.”

Videla Argentina, Pinochet Chile, Stroessner Paraguay are the easily remembered poster children of dictatorships of course, but what about the 21 years (twenty-one) of military dictatorship government in Brazil to 1985? What about the 70s in Peru? Care to consider just why the Sandinistas decided to take up arms against its own government in the 80s of Nicaragua? If you want more, notice what kind of direction has been taken by Honduras recently, Mel Zelaya’s downfall and all that. We could continue.
And that’s just the dictatorships, then we move to democratically elected governments starting our examples with Goni’s Bolivia (he had two terms there), the mess that the right wing authoritarian governments in Ecuador made, Álvaro Uribe’s jolly japes as head of Colombia for eight years, C.A.P. in Venezuela. Even now you can hardly call Ollanta Humala’s classic neoliberalism anything but centre-right and that goes for Enrique Peña Nieto’s reformed PRI in Mexico…and Calderón before him. And Fox. Guatemala under OPM, perchance? 
Chile gets to share a biiiig border with Argentina and CFK’s version of Peronism is clearly left of centre. Then there’s Evo’s Bolivia, which is as classic left as the 21st century allows. So maybe Piñera’s optics are affected by proximities and present day matters, but calling LatAm as historically centre-left is plain silly. 
Which brings us back to the first point, I’ll miss Piñera. Entertainment value. Box of monkeys.

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