Latin America: leaders and writers assess Occupy Wall Street

Latin America’s protests on the Oct. 15 global day of action around the economic system were not especially large—in comparison either to the massive protests in Europe that day or to many Latin American demonstrations around the same issues over recent years. But for leaders, writers and activists in the region the day was an historic event, both because of the participation of people around the globe and because of the unusual leading role of a movement based in the US.

“We agree with some of the expressions that some movements have used around the world [in] demonstrations like the ones we see in the US and other countries,” Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff, a member of the center-left Workers Party (PT), said in an official speech in Porto Alegre on Oct. 14. She noted that she herself had taken a slogan from these movements: “No, we’re not going to pay for your crisis.” (ANSA, Oct. 15)

Hugo Chávez Frías, the leftist president of Venezuela, warned US rulers that “something’s germinating” in the Occupy Wall Street movement. Rather than “trying to stop the peaceful march of Venezuela,” he said at an Oct. 15 cabinet meeting broadcast by the government’s television network, Venezolana de Televisión (VTV), US leaders should “worry instead about the indignados they have there in the heart of Wall Street. Today there were marches in half the world, in all the world. Let them worry about that.” (EFE, Oct. 15, via El Nuevo Herald, Miami)

Oct. 15 “is going to be an unforgettable date for the human race,” organizers of the protests in Chile wrote on their website. “This will be the first universal gathering of citizens for a better world.” “I have great joy in my heart because for the first time in the history of the planet all of humanity is raising its voice against a dominant power which has kept us lulled to sleep and which is responsible for the current global crisis,” one of the older protesters in Colombia, Jorge Reyes, told the Spanish wire service EFE. The renowned Uruguayan writer Eduardo Galeano called the 15-M movement a “pure vitamin of hope” which shows that “everything can change” and “we’re not condemned to living in the most dangerous universal dictatorship, that of the masters of finance.” (Adital, Brazil, Oct. 14; EFE, Oct. 15, via El Espectador, Bogotá)

An editorial in Mexico‘s left-leaning daily La Jornada noted: “[T]he fact that the protests have appeared in scenarios as different from each other as the developed nations of Europe and the peripheral nations of Latin America, Asia and Africa confirms once again the destabilizing and self-destructive character of economic globalization.” The world financial centers have “succeeded in globalizing discontent and indignation.” But the paper warned that “the appearance of these spontaneous expressions of dissent…and the justified unrest of the demonstrators aren’t enough to change [the] status quo…for that it is necessary to have a massive participation of the majority sectors of the world population.” (LJ, Oct. 16)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Oct. 16.

See our last post on global econo-protests.