Wednesday, March 02, 2005

How Latin America turned to the left

Uruguay swears in its first left-wing President today, joined by the new wave of leaders in the region - and Fidel Castro. The event symbolises waning US influence, says Rupert Cornwell

At presidential inaugurations, as at weddings, the guest list says everything. In Montevideo today, Tabare Vazquez will be sworn in as the first left-wing president in the 170-year history of Uruguay. That is noteworthy enough, but even more remarkable are the foreign dignitaries in attendance.

Luis Inacio "Lula" da Silva, the centre-left President of Brazil will be there. So will Hugo Chavez, the fiery demagogue who leads Venezuela, and Argentina's Nestor Kirchner. Adding the revolutionary topping will be none other than Fidel Castro. No gathering could better symbolise the slow drift of Latin America out of the US orbit.
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