Venezuela’s political crisis spilled over into the spirit realm this week, when the governor of the state of Amazonas threatened to put a shamanic curse on President Nicolás Maduro and his administration.
Broadcast live on the Periscope app, the threat was mostly political theater. But it pointed to a broader problem for South America’s long-ruling leftist governments.
The indigenous minority groups fighting mining, deforestation and oil drilling in the region used to see left-wing leaders as their natural allies in a mortal struggle against global capitalism. Now, many see those leaders and their parties as just as rapacious as any foreign corporation, if not more so. (...)
The main reason for the breakup? Land-use conflicts across the region have grown mostly more intense, not less, because left-wing populists such as Ecuador’s Rafael Correa and Bolivia’s Evo Morales have financed their ambitious social welfare programs with revenue generated from the exploitation of natural resources. (...)
As the commodity boom of the millennium's first decade began to fade, those governments have tried to maintain spending levels by taking on new debt — mostly in the form of Chinese loans — in exchange for opening up more and more land to extractive industries. That has brought them in direct conflict with indigenous groups that expected the anti-capitalist rhetoric of leaders such as Correa and Morales to give them more control over their ancestral lands, not less.
[Via Bloggings by Boz]