Free Trade and Social Conflict in Colombia, Peru and Venezuela

Confronting U.S. Capitalism, 2000–2016


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About the Book

Foreign capital and free trade policies have provoked fierce conflicts in South America in recent years. People in Colombia and Peru engaged in often violent clashes to defend their livelihoods against the encroachments of the free market and the impositions of Wall Street. Farmers organized to save their lands from foreign mining corporations, and cities fought to save their water from contamination.
Native Americans blocked highways to preserve ancestral lands, while students paralyzed universities and called for reforms to higher education.
The shift toward socialism in Venezuela, led by President Hugo Chávez, was bitterly opposed by privileged groups.
Governments tried to quell the turmoil through repression, political maneuvering and propaganda. This book provides a dramatic account of the struggles.

About the Author(s)

René De La Pedraja, PhD, University of Chicago, has researched and written numerous publications. He is a professor of history at Canisius College in Buffalo, New York.

Bibliographic Details

René De La Pedraja
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 352
Bibliographic Info: 7 maps, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2016
pISBN: 978-0-7864-9929-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2640-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1

1. Venezuela: From the Fourth Republic to Hugo Chávez 3

The Failure of the Fourth Republic  3

PDVSA: A State Within a State  8

The Emergence of Hugo Chávez  11

2. Peru: The Return of Dictatorship 22

The Partnership with Vladimiro Montesinos  22

The Alberto Fujimori Dictatorship  25

The First Reelection  32

3. The United States and the Crisis in Peru 39

The Second Reelection of Alberto Fujimori  39

The Last Battle of Vladimiro Montesinos  44

The Unraveling  51

The Transition  55

4. Initial Attempts at Transformation 60

Venezuela: New Constitution and Task Forces  60

Peru: The Start of the Alejandro Toledo Presidency  68

Decentralization in Peru Under Alejandro Toledo  71

5. Venezuela: The Coup of April 2002 77

The 49 Decree Laws  77

The Coup Attempt of 11 April 2002  81

Peter the Brief  90

6. Two Decisive Turns in 2002 96

Colombia: The Rise of Álvaro Uribe Vélez  96

Peru: From the Arequipazo to the Andahuaylas Revolt  100

7. Venezuela: The Second Attempt to Overthrow Chávez 110

Missed Opportunity  110

The Petroleum Strike: December 2002–February 2003  114

8. Colombia: The Álvaro Uribe Vélez Presidency 120

The War Against Guerrillas  120

The Challenge to the Political Class  122

The Problem of the Paramilitaries  124

 9. Venezuela: The Best Years of the Chávez Presidency 131

The Third Effort to Oust Chávez: The Recall Election of 2004  131

The Opposition in Disarray  136

Attempts to Transform Venezuela  141

10. Peru: Ups and Downs of the Alejandro Toledo Presidency 149

Reaching for the Sky  149

The Agony of the Alejandro Toledo Presidency  155

11. Blows Against the Left 160

Colombia: The Reelection of Álvaro Uribe Vélez  160

The 2006 Presidential Campaign in Peru  164

12. Venezuela and Peru: From Success to Setback 170

The Bolivarian Revolution: From Euphoria to Repudiation  170

Peru: From Honeymoon to Social Conflict  179

13. Peru: The ­Self-Destruction of the Alán García Presidency 186

New Outbreaks of Violence  186

The Scandal of the Petro Audios  190

The Final Blow: The Bagua Massacre  193

14. The Bolivarian Revolution on the Offensive, 2008–2011 203

PSUV, Nationalizations and Elections  203

2009: The Decisive Year  210

The Struggle to Safeguard Society  215

Food Scarcity and Agriculture  222

The End of the Offensive  227

15. The Álvaro Uribe Presidency in Distress 231

The Twilight of the Uribe Presidency  231

Three Scandals  236

The Third Term and the Presidential Election of 2010  245

16. Peru: The Nationalist Reaction 251

The Presidential Campaign of 2011  251

Ollanta Humala: Defining the Presidency  254

The Ongoing Struggle Over the Conga Mining Project  256

17. Transitions in Venezuela and Colombia 260

The Agony of the Hugo Chávez Presidency  261

Course Corrections in Colombia  264

18. The Closing of a Period 272

Colombia: The Struggle for Peace  272

Peru: Trapped in Conflicts  279

Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution on the Defensive  284

Chapter Notes 297

Annotated Bibliography 333

Index 335