The Pink Tide’s Second Surge

The Pink Tide’s Second Surge

Jeremy Adelman on the new strength of the Latin American left.


The victory of Gustavo Petro in the recent Colombian presidential election is further proof that Latin America is being swept in a new “pink tide,” one that has the potential to be larger and more far-reaching in its impact than the original wave of left-of-center governments that took power in the 1990s and early 2000s. Aside from Colombia, there are now left-of-center governments, including some openly socialist ones, in power in Mexico, Argentina, Bolivia, Honduras, and Chile. Depending on the results of an upcoming election in Brazil, nearly 80 percent of Latin America could soon be governed by parties of the left.

To survey the prospects for the left in the region, I sat down with journalist Doug Bell to interview Jeremy Adelman, the Henry Charles Lea Professor of History at Princeton University. He is also the director of the Global History Lab at Princeton. We talked about the history of the first pink tide, its achievements and failures, the right-wing reaction to it, and the current renewal of socialism in the region. The talk also takes up the exciting constitutional innovations being debated in the region as well as the difficult balance between a development strategy that relies on resource extraction and the urgent need for climate policy. Another important question is whether the United States will, as in the past, attempt to thwart a push for economic independence.

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