Why Latin America Needs a New World Order

By Marco Fernandes on May 24, 2022

photo: Marcos Espero

The world wants the conflict in Ukraine to end. However, NATO countries want to prolong it, increasing arms supplies to Ukraine and declaring that they seek to “weaken Russia”. The United States had already earmarked $13.6 billion to arm Ukraine. Biden has just requested $33 billion more. By way of comparison, ending world hunger by 2030 would require investing $45 billion per year.

Even if negotiations take place and the war ends, it is very likely that a real peaceful solution will not be possible. Nothing suggests that geopolitical tensions will ease, as behind the conflict over Ukraine is the West’s effort to curb China’s development, break its ties with Russia and end the Asian country’s strategic partnerships with the Global South.

In March, the commanders of U.S. Africa Command and Southern Command (General Stephen J. Townsend and General Laura Richardson respectively) warned the U.S. Senate about the perceived dangers of rising Chinese and Russian influence in Africa, as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean. The commanders recommended that the United States weaken the influence of Moscow and Beijing in these regions. This policy is part of the 2018 U.S. national security doctrine, which frames China and Russia as its “core challenges.”

No to the Cold War

Latin America does not want a new cold war. The region has already suffered through decades of military governments and austerity policies justified on the basis of the so-called “communist threat.” Tens of thousands of people lost their lives and many tens of thousands more were imprisoned, tortured and exiled just because they wanted their countries to be sovereign and their societies to be decent. This violence was a product of the cold war imposed by the United States in Latin America.

Latin America wants peace. Peace can only be built on the basis of regional unity. This process began 20 years ago, after a cycle of popular uprisings – driven by the tsunami of neoliberal austerity – led to the election of progressive governments: Venezuela (1999), Brazil (2002), Argentina (2003), Uruguay (2005),

Bolivia (2005), Ecuador (2007) and Paraguay (2008). These countries, joined by Cuba and Nicaragua, created a set of regional organizations: the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) in 2004, the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) in 2008 and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in 2011. These platforms sought to increase regional trade and political integration. Their achievements were met with increased aggression from Washington, which sought to undermine the process by attempting to overthrow the governments of many of the member countries and by dividing the regional blocs to suit Washington’s interests.


Because of its size and political relevance, Brazil was a key player in these early organizations. In 2009, Brazil joined Russia, India, China and South Africa to form BRICS, a new alliance with the goal of reordering global trade and political power relations.

Brazil’s role did not please the White House, which – avoiding the crudeness of a military coup – organized a successful operation in alliance with sectors of the Brazilian elite. Using the legislative branch, the judiciary and the Brazilian media they overthrew the government of President Dilma Rousseff in 2016 and led to the arrest of President Lula in 2018 (who at the time was leading the polls in the presidential election). Both were accused of being part of a chain of corruption involving the Brazilian state-owned oil company. The Brazilian justice system conducted an investigation known as “Operation Lava Jato”. The involvement of the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI in that investigation was revealed after a massive leak of Telegram chats of the Operation’s lead prosecutor. However, before the U.S. interference was discovered, the political impeachment of Lula and Dilma returned power to the right in Brasilia. Brazil ceased to play a leading role in regional or global projects that could weaken US power, abandoned UNASUR and CELAC, and remains in BRICS only formally – as is also the case with India -, weakening the prospect of strategic alliances in the Global South.

Change of course

In recent years, Latin America has experienced a new wave of progressive governments. The idea of regional integration is back on the table. After four years without holding a summit, CELAC will meet again in September 2021, under the leadership of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador and Argentine President Alberto Fernandez. If Gustavo Petro triumphs in the Colombian presidential elections in May 2022, and Lula wins in his campaign for re-election to the Brazilian presidency in October 2022, for the first time in decades, Latin America’s four largest economies (Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia) would be governed by the center-left, particularly supporters of Latin American and Caribbean integration. Lula has said that if he wins the presidency, Brazil will return to CELAC and resume an active position in BRICS.

The Global South could be poised to re-emerge by the end of the year and create a new space for itself within the world order. One proof of this is the lack of unanimity that has arisen from NATO’s attempt to create a larger coalition to sanction Russia. This NATO project has provoked a backlash throughout the Global South. Even governments that condemn the war (such as Argentina, Brazil, India and South Africa) do not agree with NATO’s policy of unilateral sanctions and prefer to support negotiations for a

peaceful solution. The idea of reviving a non-aligned movement (inspired by the initiative launched at the conference held in Bandung, Indonesia, in 1955) has been echoed in many circles.

Their intention is correct. They seek to de-escalate world political tensions, which are a threat to the sovereignty of countries and tend to impact negatively on the global economy. The spirit of non-confrontation and peace of the Bandung Conference is urgent today.

But the Non-Aligned Movement emerged as a refusal of Third World countries to choose sides in the polarization between the United States and the USSR during the Cold War. They fought for their sovereignty and the right to have relations with the countries of both systems, without their foreign policy being decided in Washington or Moscow.

This is not the current scenario. Only the Washington-Brussels axis (and its allies) demand alignment with their so-called “rules-based international order”. Those who do not align suffer from sanctions applied against dozens of countries (devastating entire economies, such as Venezuela and Cuba), illegal confiscation of hundreds of billions of dollars in assets (as in the cases of Venezuela, Iran, Afghanistan and Russia), invasions and meddling resulting in genocidal wars (as in Iraq, Syria, Libya and Afghanistan) and foreign support for “color revolutions” (from Ukraine in 2014 to Brazil in 2016). The demand for alignment comes solely from the West, not from China or Russia.

Humanity faces urgent challenges, such as inequality, hunger, the climate crisis and the threat of new pandemics. To overcome them, regional alliances in the Global South must be able to institute a new multipolarity in world politics. But the usual suspects may have other plans for humanity.

Source: Alai, translation Resumen Latinoamericano – English