Latin America's Turbulent Transitions

The Future of Twenty-First Century Socialism

Roger Burbach, Michael Fox, and Federico Fuentes


Investigates the recent rise of radical left governments in many Latin American countries, exploring why this profound shift has taken place and how this new 'Twenty-First Century Socialism' actually manifests itself.
Over the past few years, something remarkable has occurred in Latin America. For the first time since the Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua in the 1980s, people within the region have turned toward radical left governments - specifically in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador. Why has this profound shift taken place and how does this new, so-called Twenty-First-Century Socialism actually manifest itself? What are we to make of the often fraught relationship between the social movements and governments in these countries and do, in fact, the latter even qualify as 'socialist' in reality?

These are the bold and critical questions that Latin America's Turbulent Transitions explores. The authors provocatively argue that although US hegemony in the region is on the wane, the traditional socialist project is also declining and something new is emerging. Going beyond simple conceptions of 'the left', the book reveals the true underpinnings of this powerful, transformative, and yet also complicated and contradictory process.

Author Bio

Roger Burbach was director of the Center for the Study of the Americas and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. He wrote extensively on Latin America and US foreign policy for over four decades. He died in 2015.

Michael Fox is a former editor of NACLA Report on the Americas. He has worked for many years as a freelance journalist, radio reporter, and documentary film-maker covering Latin America. He is the co-author of Venezuela Speaks!: Voices from the Grassroots (2010) and the co-director of the documentary films Beyond Elections: Redefining Democracy in the Americas and Crossing the American Crises: From Collapse to Action. He is on the board of and his articles have been published in The Nation, Yes Magazine, Earth Island Journal, and more. His work can be found at

Federico Fuentes edits Bolivia Rising, is on the board of, and is a regular contributor to the Australian-based newspaper Green Left Weekly, serving as part of its Caracas bureau from 2007 to 2010. He has co-authored three books with Marta Harnecker on the new left in Bolivia, Ecuador, and Paraguay. His articles have been published with ZNet, Counterpunch, MRZine,, Aporrea, Rebelión, America XXI, Comuna, and other publications and websites in both Spanish and English.

Table of Contents

  • Introduction: Turbulent Transitions and the Specter of Socialism
  • 1. Globalization, Neoliberalism, and the Rise of the Social Movements
  • 2. The Pink Tide and the Challenge to US Hegemony
  • 3. Between Neo-Extractivism and Twenty-First-Century Socialism
  • 4. Venezuela's Twenty-First-Century Socialism
  • 5. Bolivia's Communitarian Socialism
  • 6. Ecuador's Buen Vivir Socialism (by Marc Becker)
  • 7. Brazil: Between Challenging Hegemony and Embracing It
  • 8. Cuba: 'Updating' Twentieth-Century Socialism?
  • 9. Conclusion: Socialism and the Long Latin American Spring
  • Appendix: Nationwide Elections in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador


'The insightful and informative studies collected here reveal what has been taking place in Latin America, and the implications of these developments for the emerging world order.'
Noam Chomsky

'This book describes the political vision changing the lives of millions in Latin America. It is a manual of thrilling example for us all.'
John Pilger, journalist and film-maker

'A fascinating and passionate overview of the most important social experiment on earth: Latin America's search for economic justice.'
Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums

'An intelligent and informed review of the Latin American left - its past, its prospects, and its internal debates. A first-rate contribution to our efforts to analyze and to transform the world.'
Immanuel Wallerstein, Yale University

'Original and insightful analysis.'
Saul Landau, Film Director and Author

'Roger Burbach, Michael Fox and Federico Fuentes have produced a sparklingly up-to-date account of the "pink tide" of new thinking for the general reader.'
Hugh O'Shaughnessy, author of Priest of Paraguay


Publication Date: 14 February 2013
224 pages

Product ISBNs: Paperback: 9781848135673
Hardback: 9781848135680
eBook ePub: 9781780324968
eBook PDF: 9781848135697
eBook Kindle: 9781780324975

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