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pink tide

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Also referred to as ‘left‐of‐centre’, ‘left‐leaning’, and ‘radical social democratic’ governments in Latin America. The term first came into public discourse following the victory of Hugo Chávez in the Venezuelan presidential elections of 1998. Subsequently, the election of governments in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, and Guatemala consolidated the pink tide.

In terms of their regional and diplomatic policies, pink tide governments attempted to be more assertive in their response to US policy imperatives and that country's historical hegemony in the region. However, their ability to act together was hampered by the fact that other countries—such as Mexico, Colombia, and Peru—remained close to Washington and also by numerous rivalries and contentious issues. Thus, Brazil and Argentina have long vied with each other for regional leadership and Chile and Bolivia have been locked in a dispute over the latter's access to the sea since the former's victory in the War of the Pacific in 1881. While Venezuela, Bolivia, and Nicaragua have joined with Cuba to form the ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas) with the aim of creating an alternative to Washington's proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay have been more circumspect in their approach and distanced themselves from the radical rhetoric of Chávez's Bolivarian revolution.

Geraldine Lievesley


Subjects: Social sciencesPolitics

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