Street protests over “corruption” in Latin America are often expressly reactionary. Very similar to Tea Party mobilization in the United States, middle-class unease with the redistributionist policies of the region’s center-left governments is leveraged by conservative economic and political elites, and cheered on by the monopoly corporate press, both in country and in the United States (and are often funded by “democracy promotion” organizations based in the United States—either that, or the Koch brothers, who seem to be running their own foreign policy in Latin America). Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Marcelo Silva noted that government protesters in Brazil last year were well-heeled and light-skinned. They are also color-coded, with would-be regime topplers agreeing to don some royalist hue, usually white but sometimes blue.
Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, Argentina, Paraguay, and, of course, Venezuela, have all witnessed very similar “wretched of the gated community” revolts. Ecuador’s les mis-libertarians are trying to get one started now to derail Rafael Correa’s effort to put into place a progressive tax structure (based on Thomas Piketty’s analysis of concentrated, inherited wealth). It was such a “white revolution” which in 2009 brought down the reformist government of Manuel Zelaya in Honduras, in a coup that, as e-mails reveal and the Intercept reports, Hillary Clinton’s State Department (back-channeling through that horrid Lanny Davis, who was on the coup’s payroll) quickly came to endorse and support. That same year in Guatemala, a similar middle-class mobilization—comprising, as a Guatemalan friend put it disdainfully, los twitteros—nearly brought down a president whose reform program was even milder than Zelaya’s.
Latin America’s center-left governments can be criticized on many points, but these “white revolutions” (or “blue” in the case of Ecuador) are the face of modern reaction in the region. “Reaction” in the truest sense: Lacking a positive vision, they only say what they are against. “Do you want Ecuador to be like Venezuela?,” asked the mayor of Guayaquil, best known for using the forces of repression and terror to gentrify the city; “Do you want the country that Correa proposes? Do you want the Inheritance Law? Do you want the tax on capital gains?”