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Latin America in revolt
Secretary of the Committee for a Workers' International (CWI) Tony Saunois, introduced the session on Latin America with a vivid account of the struggles of the working class and poor.
The election of Obama has raised huge expectations in Latin America. But the brutal exploitation by US imperialism is likely to continue, especially with Obama publicly backing the vicious right-wing Uribe regime in Colombia in its 'war on drugs'.
The slump in oil prices will affect Latin America's export-based economies. The boom in oil revenues has been used by the Chavez government in Venezuela to finance a programme of social reforms which have improved the living standards of millions. The Chavez government will now have to confront severe economic problems and there was discussion about the future of the regime.
Tony described the tense and explosive situation of revolution and counter revolution in Bolivia. The mass support for the Morales government in landslide election results and mass mobilisations of workers and the poor against the forces of reaction reflect the demand of the Bolivian masses for a radical transformation of Bolivian society.
Socialist Party councillor Chris Flood gave an account of a visit to Cuba during the recent hurricane. He described how the planned economy meant that the regime was able to organise an effective response to this natural disaster.
However, tensions and frustrations in Cuban society are evident with the lack of political democracy, shortages of goods and corruption of government officials, as well as growing inequalities in society as the regime introduces market reforms.
Tony concluded by saying that the struggles of workers and the poor against capitalism, imperialism and landlordism across Latin American may suffer defeats and setbacks, but will never cease.