The wave of Leftist governments that led Latin America in the last decade is receding, under accusations of corruption, weak economic performance and caudillo politics. In their place, conservative politicians are reasserting their dominance.
Surprisingly, though, new Leftist movements seem to show the vitality of Progressive politics in the region, indicating perhaps a future turn of the swing. One of those movements is the Broad Front (Frente Amplio) of Peru, led by Verónika Mendoza.
With a wide platform combining social justice, feminism, secularism and environmentalism, the Broad Front obtained victories in a third of the 1600 districts of Peru, or about 20% of the popular vote. Also, the Front gained influence and contributed decisively to the ultimate defeat of Extreme Right Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the former strongman of Peru, Alberto Fujimori.
Come hear Verónika Mendoza share her perspectives about the challenges of the Left in the new Latin American scenario; her strong results in notoriously conservative Peru; and her vision of the future.
*Please note that this conversation will be held in Spanish.
Verónika Mendoza: A psychologist by training, Mendoza was elected to Congress in 2011, as part of the Nationalist Party, led by Ollanta Humala. After Humala’s government betrayed its original, progressive platform, and engaged in police repression against peasants demanding environmental protections around mining projects, Mendoza resigned from Humala’s party, and decided to caucus with other independent progressives.
During her tenure in Congress, Mendoza was a champion of progressive causes, such as the protection of the environment, the defense of women’s rights, and advocacy for LGBT rights. She has consistently worked against corruption and for a fair redistribution of resources between the capital of Peru, Lima, and the provinces.
In 2015, she was elected in open primaries as the presidential candidate of the Broad Front, and she went on to secure almost 20% of the popular vote in the April 2016 elections, including majorities in one third of the about 1800 districts of the country, with a strong showing in Andean districts, especially those most affected by mining.
Mariela Dreyfus is a Peruvian poet, essayist and translator. She holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Literature from Columbia University. As a poet she has published Memorias de Electra (1984), Placer fantasma (1993), Ónix (2001), Pez (2005), Morir es un arte (2010) and Cuaderno músico precedido de Morir es un arte (2015). Placer fantasma was awarded the National Poetry Award Asociación Peruano-Japonesa in 1992. Dreyfus's poetry is included in several anthologies of Peruvian and Latin American poetry. She has also published the book-length essay, Soberanía y transgresión: César Moro (2008), and co-edited the critical volumes Nadie sabe mis cosas. Reflexiones en torno a la poesía de Blanca Varela (2007), and Esta mística de relatar cosas sucias. Ensayos en torno a la obra de Carmen Ollé (2016). She currently teaches at the MFA in Creative Writing in Spanish at New York University.
Jose Luis Rénique. Historian focused on peasant movements in the Andes, the Peruvian Left and the Shining Path. He is Principal Professor in CUNY’s Graduate Center – Lehman College. He has published La voluntad encarcelada: las “luminosas trincheras de combate de SL del Perú (Lima: IEP, 2003 y Lima: LaSiniestra/Ensayos, 2016), La batalla por Puno. Conflicto agrario y nación en los Andes peruanos (Lima: IEP, 2004), Incendiar la pradera. Un ensayo sobre la revolución en el Perú (Lima: LaSiniestra/Ensayos, 2015) e Imaginar la nación. Viajes en busca del “verdadero Perú”, 1881-1932 (Lima: IEP, 2015). He has received the National Endowment of Humanities. Extending the Reach Fellowship, a Rockefeller Foundation grant, and the Lehman College Excellence Research, Scholarship and Creative Works Award.
Paula Garcia graduated from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru with a degree in Political Science. Currently, she is pursuing Master studies in Public Administration at Cornell University. She is the President of the Cornell Latin American Student Society (CLASS). She received the McNamara Fellowship 2016 from the World Bank Foundation. Her specialization areas are international development, gender and political institutions.
Co-sponsored with NACLA.
This event is free and open to the public. ID required for entry.