Title

Brazil’s Landless and the Revolt Against Neo-Liberalism

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2008

Keywords

ISLAC

Abstract

Ever since the “Caracazo”, the 1989 popular uprising in Venezuela against the implementation of a structural adjustment programme, Latin America has seen widespread resistance to the austerity measures and conservative economic policies known as “neo-liberalism”. This opposition has taken various forms: the Zapatista rebellion in Mexico in 1994; the neo-populist Movimiento V República led by Hugo Chávez in Venezuela from the late 1990s on; the national indigenous movement in Ecuador, the growth of its related political parties, and the subsequent election as president of Rafael Correa; the re-election in 2006 of the Sandinista leader, Daniel Ortega, in Nicaragua; the growth of the Workers’ Party and of the Movement of Landless Rural Labourers (MST) in Brazil; the Asambleas de Barrios and other protest organisations in Argentina and the election of two presidents who ran on a platform of opposition to neo-liberalism (the Kirchners); and the Movement towards Socialism (MAS) in Bolivia and the election of Evo Morales in 2006.The election in 2002 of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in Brazil can be seen as part of this trend, a strong popular reaction against the neo-liberal policies advocated by Brazilian elites and supported by Washington and global financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the Inter-American Development Bank. It was also an indication of a movement away from traditional authoritarian politics and minimal popular engagement to new forms of democratic participation.