The arrangement of national-international forces in Brazil is central to understanding the Lula affair and more generally the Latin American political situation. The division of labor in the continent assigns the region a minor role, hierarchically subordinate to the interests of northern economies. One of the achievements of research in Latin American history is the emphasis on the relationship with the United States, how it influenced countries and challenged their political, military and strategic leadership in the last 15 years.
A good example of the power relationship that the regional Left built in the last few years is the fact that national economic oligarchies that oppose left-wing governments have resorted to the so-called ‘golpe suave’ (soft coup), rather than the overtly military coups of the middle of the 20th century.
Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton supported the Honduran soft coup in 2009 and the timely recognition of Paraguay’s government in 2012, which took power after former Catholic priest Ferdinando Lugo was removed from office. But all this is only secondary compared to Barack Obama’s silence when then Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was removed, the third and most important of the ‘constitutional coups’ targeting democratically elected progressive governments.