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Presidential candidate Pedro Castillo gives a press conference at his campaign headquarters Peruvian presidential candidate Pedro Castillo gives a press conference at his campaign headquarters in Lima, Peru, June 15, 2021 (AP photo by Martin Mejia).

Latin America’s Pacific Alliance Is No Longer a Center-Right Bastion

Thursday, July 1, 2021

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of the Pacific Alliance, a Latin American regional trade bloc founded by Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile, with the hopes of expanding to others, such as Panama or Ecuador. The concept had been presented for the first time in 2006 by then-Peruvian President Alan Garcia Perez: a network of countries on the Pacific coast that could increase their trade with the Asia-Pacific through interregional agreements.

When the Pacific Alliance was finally launched in April 2011, its members had conservative presidents that aligned politically and commercially with Washington. Other countries in the region, led by Brazil, were ruled by left-wing leaders, some of whom were populists aligned more closely with China and Russia. Accordingly, Latin America was sometimes portrayed as having two opposing geopolitical sides: a Pacific region with close ties to the United States and an Atlantic region that was distancing itself from the West. The 2014 crisis over Russia’s annexation of Crimea was a good illustration: Pacific Alliance members condemned the move at the U.N., while the members of the Mercosur trade bloc—Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay—backed Russia. ...

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