Latin America has lost the battles against neoliberalism and cultural hegemony, former Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner tells former Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa in an interview for RT en Español's show Conversando con Correa.
"The neoliberalism of the 1990s failed in every part of the world, but today it seems that it is once against installing itself," Fernandez said.
"The new wave of neoliberalism in Latin America comes accompanied by the judicial persecution of opposition," she continued, referring to the use of alleged corruption scandals and 'lawfare' against governments like her own, and that of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Brazil's Supreme Court ordered the imprisonment of Lula following his corruption conviction yesterday, sparking protests.
Fernandez' government was replaced with the right-wing neoliberal administration of Mauricio Macri. Argentina has since experienced a sharp rise in prices of public services, along with harsh austerity measures.
"Sometime, the people are going to begin to compare the quality of life that they used to have with 'populists' and that which they have with the neoliberals," Fernandez said.
She also criticized progressive leaders' failure to win the war for cultural hegemony, saying that media and "fake news" have played a powerful role in reversing progressive achievements.
"The neoliberals have wanted to convince the people that all of the economic achievements were a fantasy. I believe we have failed to win the battle over the culture, or rather the psychology.
"Neoliberalism, fake news, social media – our opponents have all developed an understanding of how people think... They have managed to convince large segments of our society that their achievements are down to their individual efforts alone; that all personal progress is divorced from politics."
While governments of the 'Pink Tide' – exemplified by leaders such as Fernandez and Correa – are often denounced as 'populist' projects, Fernandez argues in favor of so-called 'populism.'
"Populism is a political language to represent heterogeneous societies and create a national project," she said.