Though it may not be news to women, mainstream media seems to be waking up to the fact of Latina and Latinoaméricana leadership and power. Stories like this one in today’s Seattle Times document how women in Latin America are, in fact, “winning political power at an unprecedented rate.” The article and others like it point to the rapid electoral ascent of women in the hemisphere. No mention, however, is made of the liberation movements -sexual, gender and national- that created the very conditions making possible the rise of Chile’s single socialist mom President, Michelle Bachelet, or the more-than-likely election of Cristina Fernandez in Argentina.
Still, that women, especially left-leaning women, are occupying positions of power does encourage as do reports of Latina leadership in the immigrant rights and other movements of this country. Reports of Latina political involvement from places like Denver reflect Latinaméricanizacion of US politics, a Latinaméricanizacion in which mujeres (women) combine movement-building with electoral power. We can see the coming threat to the largely unaccountable corporate and philanthropy-influenced Latina institutional leadership rising on the new political horizon defined by the immigrant rights movement.
This article by my friend and colleague Pueng Vongs captures the feminine spirit at the core of Latin American slogans like “Ahora Marchamos, Manana Votamos” (Today We March, Tommorrow We Vote) that are now rooting themselves deeply in los United States de América. Let us look forward to the winds of change coming from women carrying nothing less than the salvation the continent with them as they continue crossing – and destroying-borders.