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GRANDSTAND. “Why Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s Latin America does not exist”

4:23 p.m., July 28, 2022, amended to 4:31 p.m., July 28, 2022

Here is Éléonore Caroit’s column on Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s trip:

“Once again, Jean-Luc Mélenchon is using the South American continent to position himself as France’s sole interlocutor in Latin America.

A distorted romantic vision

Jean-Luc Mélenchon is completing a 15-day trip during which he traveled to Mexico, Honduras and Colombia to “to rehydrate politically” with presidents in office or figures of the left in rupture as he likes to call them. We note in passing his decision to remove his usual destinations, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, from his roadmap despite his known and recognized admiration for their presidents. No doubt it would have been too risky to display the deplorable economic and social situation and the violations of human rights in these three countries whose political regimes he so regularly supported.

Read also – Murders and intimidation… In Latin America, environmental activists are paying a high price for their commitment

Jean-Luc Mélenchon highlights his closeness to Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in Mexico. What he does not specify, however, is that the policy “a break” of the Mexican President does not result in a tax reform for more social justice but rather in an extension of the prerogatives of the armed forces, which are now in charge of strategic missions such as the management of ports and customs but also the realization of works at Mexico City airport. A reinforced presence of the army which does not fail to arouse the concern of civil society. Jean-Luc Mélenchon is also not offended by the measures affecting the environment carried out by the government of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, much criticized locally, particularly with regard to the “Mayan train” whose line connecting Cancun to Tulum will cross the jungle, an area rich in cenotes and biodiversity.

He insists on his closeness to the new Colombian president even though Gustavo Petro’s political strategy goes against that led by Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the face of the presidential majority. Gustavo Petro seeks to create a great national alliance and says he is in favor of dialogue and compromise with the opposition, which is far from being the case of La France Insoumise, as evidenced by these first weeks of work in the National Assembly!

Jean-Luc Mélenchon is however right on one point: the political face of Latin America is changing. It has even undergone a profound transformation in recent years with the coming to power of new leaders who are socially and ecologically progressive, respectful of democratic processes and who have abandoned “anti yankism” primary always preached by the Caudillo des Insoumis. France must take advantage of this renewed context to deepen its relations with Latin America.

Read also – In Latin America, the left is gaining ground

Latin America deserves better

Latin America and, with it, the relations it maintains with France deserve better than sound bites and whirlwind visits against the backdrop of outdated ideology. This region of the world is unfortunately one of the great absentees from the Quai d’Orsay’s foreign policy and has been for too long. If France benefits from a fairly strong cultural presence in Latin America, thanks to the 37 French schools present in the region, to more than 250 Alliances françaises established in the area and to the increase in the activity of the Agence française development in recent years, this proximity is lacking at the political level. It’s all the more unfortunate that this part of the world is Francophile.

This region of the world is one of the great absentees from foreign policy

The new government of President Emmanuel Macron must take advantage of this second five-year term to give Latin America the attention it deserves. The recent elections of Gabriel Boric in Chile, Gustavo Petro in Colombia and the probable return of Lula to Brazil offer France an excellent opportunity to redefine its relations with the South American continent. Similarly, the forthcoming presidency of the European Union by Spain could allow France to assert itself, together with Madrid, as a key player in the rapprochement between Latin America and the European Union. As a French Deputy for this region of the world, I therefore call on the government to strengthen this region’s relations with France and the European Union, in particular on the essential issues of sustainable development, ecological transition and the impacts economic and social consequences. And parliament, constructive and collective, must naturally be associated with it. For my part, I am ready for it. »

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