As many observers have noted, the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency is the latest in a series of seismic global political shifts. Many of those have occurred oceans away, from Western Europe to the Middle East to Asia.
Most who attempt to contextualize a President-elect Trump into a global narrative, paramount among them Trump campaign chairman and Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon, have compared this week’s vote to the UK’s vote to leave the European Union. Brexit pioneer Nigel Farage was, after all, openly supportive of Trump, and National Front leader Marine Le Pen among the first to congratulate the President-elect on Wednesday morning.
You don’t have to cross a sea to find a groundswell of American sentiment against leftist policies, however. In the rest of the Americas, anti-socialist movements have taken great strides to eradicate entrenched leftist regimes that spent the better part of the 2000s bankrupting their nations and cultivating dangerous ties with rogue nations like Iran, China and Russia. Below, five examples within the past two years of American countries that have forcefully rejected the international left and demanded an end to corruption and impunity for socialists.
Argentina: November 2015
Before last year, the formerly prosperous nation of Argentina had been governed by socialists for 12 years: first, the moderate Nestor Kirchner and, later, his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Between the two, the Kirchners had strengthened ties with Iran – a nation investigators repeatedly blamed for the worst terrorist attack in that nation’s history, the 1994 AMIA bombing – as well as Venezuela, Cuba, and Syria.
Before the nation went to the polls in October 2015, hand-picked Kirchner successor Daniel Scioli appeared poised to take over and continue the left’s policy-making. His conservative opponent, Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri, forced the first run-off vote in that nation’s history, however, and easily beat Scioli in November.
Among the issues tipping the scales against Scioli were the increasingly sluggish economy – a product of strict Kirchner-era price controls – and the death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman, found shot dead in his apartment after accusing the government of aiding in covering up Iran’s role in the AMIA bombing.
Brazil: March-August 2016
Like Argentina, the socialist Workers’ Party (PT) ruled Brazil for more than a decade: seven years of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, and nearly six of Dilma Rousseff. Under da Silva, the socialists established a sprawling corruption scheme that came to be known by the nickname “Operation Car Wash,” in which government officials would systematically overcharge for government projects through state-owned oil corporation Petrobras and keep the change.
Revelations tying Rousseff, minister of energy during most of the scheme’s existence, and da Silva to the corruption triggered protests of millions throughout the country demanding her impeachment. In August, they got their wish: the Brazilian legislature ousted Rousseff, replacing her with her more business-friendly vice president, Michel Temer.
To cement the nation’s rejection of leftists, not just the Workers’ Party, the legislature ousted Eduardo Cunha, the head of the House of Representatives and architect of impeachment. He, too, allegedly stuck his hand into the proverbial Petrobras cookie jar and, deprived of legislative immunity, was arrested on corruption charges.
Peru: July 2016
The government of Peru, too, shifted rightward this year, though in much less dramatic fashion than Brazil. There, leftist Ollanta Humala had spent most of his tenure, again, strengthening ties with states like Venezuela, Bolivia, and Cuba. The economy stagnated. The threat of terrorism blossomed.
Like Argentina, Peru’s constitution requires a second round run-off vote. In the first round, Peruvians sounded dismissed the leftist candidates, turning the vote into, essentially, one between two conservatives. The question in the run-off became one of which issue matter more to Peruvians: the economy or law and order.
Ultimately, Ivy League-educated economist Pedro Pablo Kuczynski defeated legislator Keiko Fujimori, who ran a strong anti-crime, anti-terrorism campaign. While conservative in a different way, Kuczynski was nonetheless conservative. “His Cabinet reflects his preference for brains and the boardroom: It’s full of PhDs from foreign universities and former captains of Peruvian industry,” the Associated Press noted in July.
Colombia: October 2016
Unlike the other countries, Colombia had already voted in a conservative: Juan Manuel Santos, defense minister under the president that forced the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) to flee to Cuba.
Santos changed his political profile significantly as president, earning his former boss, Senator Álvaro Uribe, as arch-rival. Rather than vanquish the Marxist terror group FARC once and for all, Santos pushed for a “peace” that allowed terror leaders to return to Colombia and run for office, all while serving no prison time for their crimes. The FARC are responsible for an estimated 200,000 deaths throughout their existence and 100,000 more disappearances.
In October, Santos was constitutionally forced to put his FARC peace deal up for a national vote. What he got was a slap in the face: a solid “no” that forced the FARC leaders, after much fanfare in a symbolic peace deal “signing” that assumed the people would also approve, to return to Havana and back to the drawing board. Uribe, the leader of the “No” vote movement, is now once again a major player in assuring “peace,” and his peace is likely to involve much less impunity.
Guatemala: October 2015
“I’m not a career politician. I am not a traditional politician, but I am a citizen who has tried to prepare to confront a corrupt political class that steals money from the state with impunity,” Jimmy Morales, the current governor of Guatemala, told Breitbart News during a visit to the United States in September 2015, when he was still a dark horse candidate.
Morales elicited many comparisons to Donald Trump: a TV comedian, Morales had no prior political experience and little connections to the political elite. He ran a nationalist anti-corruption campaign, promising to eradicate special interests and bring in qualified people with few crony connections to improve the nation’s economy and, in turn, improve the relationship between Guatemala City and Washington.
Venezuela has yet to have its election, but not for a lack of trying: a referendum to force a recall vote against socialist dictator Nicolás Maduro attracted four million signatures, enough to trigger a new presidential election. Maduro went from president to officially-declared dictator when he shut down the recall movement, rejecting the signatures and announcing that the recall operation could no longer continue. The opposition-controlled legislature has responded by branding Maduro a dictator and forcing a legislative trial for vacating the office – the closest the Hugo Chávez-approved constitution allows to an impeachment procedure.
>Outside of the legislature, millions of Venezuelans have taken the streets on a nearly-daily basis for three years, demanding free and fair elections, a free economy, and food and medicine. Maduro’s economy has left Venezuelans largely unable to feed themselves and their hospitals decrepit and devoid of basic medical supplies. The government has responded to these protests by placing the military in charge of the nation’s food supply and establishing socialist distribution groups to ensure government supporters remain well-fed.