South America’s recent shift to the left – the so-called “pink wave” that at one point had three-quarters of Central and South America’s population under left-wing parties – has brought about the emergence of a post-neoliberal development agenda, with the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA) and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) as two main models of regional integration. This new pathway of regional cooperation has focused on social and political issues of the region rather than merely trade – the core of traditional regional agreements. Although ALBA and UNASUR reflect diverging geopolitical and domestic aspirations within the Latin American Left, resulting in projects with different scope and nature, they both have represented an attempt to create an alternative to the neoliberal paradigm. While ALBA and UNASUR have already revealed significant shortcomings, they nevertheless attest to Latin American countries having developed a new social and political regional awareness.
1. What is the Left-Turn?
2. A historical context of regional cooperation in South America
3. ALBA: an ideology-driven alliance
4. UNASUR: a “pink” integration