A ‘far-right hurricane’? How a Spanish party intends to fight the left in Latin America (and to confront the Sao Paulo Forum)
By Nazareth Balbás
The advance of the left in Latin America worries the Spanish extreme right. Or at least that is what seems to be behind the announcement by the leader of the Vox party, Santiago Abascal, who announced that this political formation will create an international institution to combat the “communist drift.”
“We are establishing relations fundamentally to create an organized forum of opposition to what has been the Sao Paulo forum and the Puebla Group”, said Abascal at a press conference last Monday.
Although he did not give further details on how the institution will operate, he did make it clear that it is “an international structure” that it will operate “as an authentic opposition in defense of freedoms and democracy”, in what Vox calls “the Iberosphere”.
The politician stressed that the intention is to go beyond a declaration of intent: not a letter, not a manifesto. The purpose, according to Abascal, is to form a forum that brings together visions that oppose the alleged “communist drift” region of.
It is not the first time that this type of international initiatives have been aired from the Spanish ultra-rightist formation that, this same year, launched a series of scholarships aimed at young leaders through the Disenso foundation, headed by Abascal, to “train future leaders of the public and social sphere willing to defend Liberty on both sides of the Atlantic.”
However, the undeniable change of the political board in Latin America has encouraged the far-right party to put its foot on the accelerator. The recent victory of the leftist Pedro Castillo in Peru; the strengthening of the leadership of Andrés Manuel López Obrador and Alberto Fernández, in Mexico and Argentina; as well as the resurgence of integration initiatives such as the Community of American and Caribbean States (Celac), coupled with the weakening of forums such as the Lima Group (born within the Organization of American States), are signs that Vox sees with concern .
In fact, at the end of last year, Abascal’s formation promoted the signing of the Paper of Madrid, a document signed by leaders of the Spanish and Latin American right that, among other points, warned that the region was supposedly “kidnapped by totalitarian communist-inspired regimes” that “infiltrate the centers of power” through initiatives “like the Sao Paulo Forum and the Puebla Group” to impose your “ideological agenda”.
In that letter, the signatories proposed “to work together in the defense” of their values and principles, or what is the same: the promotion of anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, homophobic and ultra-conservative policies. The objective? Fighting the left in Latin America and pointing it out as a “threat”.
On the list of politicians who signed the document was former Bolivian de facto Government Minister Arturo Murillo, currently imprisoned in the US for corruption; the former Metropolitan Mayor of Caracas and a fugitive from Venezuelan justice, Antonio Ledezma; as well as right-wing leaders in countries such as Peru, Argentina, Ecuador, Paraguay, El Salvador, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, Mexico, Spain, the United States, and Colombia.
Almost a year after that Madrid Charter, Abascal’s announcement signals that the declaration of intent has already mutated into concrete actions. One of them would be this new international structure aimed at the ‘Iberosphere’, which is what Vox calls the countries “that share a deep-rooted cultural heritage”, which includes the US and Canada.
The ambitious project is likely to have ample financial support, judging by recent revelations surrounding the emergence of the green party, whose rise would have been promoted with the juicy financing of “great fortunes”, according to the leak of more than 17,000 internal and confidential documents of ultra-Catholic Spanish organizations revealed by Wikileaks.
On the same day of the half-announcement of the Vox leader, a Article on the website of the Disenso Foundation, which ensures that “democratic erosion is more palpable in nations governed by a left akin to the Sao Paulo Forum.”
The list of nations ‘demonized’ by the author of the article is headed, as usual, by Venezuela, Bolivia and Nicaragua, although with the inclusion of Mexico in a fifth place after Honduras. The conclusion is not gratuitous, since Caracas has been indicated to bring the ‘Bolivarian hurricane’ to the region, through the Sao Paulo forum, and the Mexican president has been responsible for reviving the Puebla Group, together with the president of Argentina, at the same time as the decline of the Lima Group.
For the far right, those movements that promote regional union and tend towards the more progressive left, cause “great institutional damage to Ibero-American democracies” and, supposedly, are directed from Cuba so that the specter of “communism” scares the systems away. “liberal” politicians.
“If the forces of the Forum gain ground, the transition towards authoritarianism seems inevitable”, assures the author of the text. Vox’s bet is to prevent that from happening and that the turn in the region gets closer to the Brazil of Jair Bolsonaro or the United States of the defenestrated Donald Trump, unleashing a reverse ideological storm in Latin America that faces the Sao Paulo Forum in a kind of ‘far-right hurricane’.