Over the last two decades mass movements of the oppressed have arisen across Latin America to challenge neoliberalism and US corporate domination.
These movements are a response to the brutal neoliberal polices enforced in the 1980s and 1990s by the US government and international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
These polices, known as the Washington Consensus, led to an increase in the number of poor in the region by 14 million in the 1990s. Meanwhile, US banks and corporations secured US$1 trillion in profits between 1990 and 2002. In the 1990s, more than US$178 billion-worth of state-owned industries were privatised.
Since the 1990s, popular resistance has grown: mass movements successfully stopped the implementation of neoliberal polices and in a number of countries, pro-US neoliberal governments were defeated and replaced, in some cases, by radical governments. In Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, these governments are seeking to implement popular demands and to link up with the Cuban government to spearhead a Latin America-wide push for pro-people regional integration and unity.
This has led to the spreading of the pro-poor social missions in Venezuela, established with Cuban assistance, to other nations such as Bolivia and Ecuador.
It has also led to a range of new regional institutions that challenge US and corporate domination, such as the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas (ALBA); PetroCaribe; Bank of the South (Bancosur); and the Union of South American Nations (Unasur).
US imperialism and its local oligarchies are organising a counter-offensive aimed at rolling back the social gains and regional integration.
This includes supporting coup attempts (Honduras, Venezuela), new military bases (Colombia), funding right-wing pro-US parties to help destabilise and overthrow popular governments; sanctions against popular governments (Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela), and sustained black propaganda campaigns against popular governments and movements.
These tactics aim to promote war in the region, and to destroy the revolutionary movements challenging corporate domination.