¿Viva la revolución?
A video released by the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign shows Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) animating a crowd at a rally in Iowa on Friday where the young democratic socialist yells "Who here is ready for the revolution?" and drawing cheers from supporters.
Presumably, the "revolution" that Ocasio-Cortez is referring to is the socialist vision that she and Sanders have promoted throughout their political careers.
Ocasio-Cortez's comments were condemned by Americans of Latin American ancestry who found them reminiscent of the kinds of calls made by socialist strongmen in the region. Among AOC's critics was Alberto de la Cruz, the Miami-based managing editor of BabaluBlog.
"The last time my family heard a socialist say 'who's ready for a revolution!?' what little they had was stolen from them, some were tortured & imprisoned, and they had to flee Cuba to save their own lives," said de la Cruz on Twitter. Adding, "No thanks, my family has been through enough socialism already."
Many Latinos seem to agree. A recent national poll by Telemundo found that nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of Latinos say they would never vote for a candidate who describes him or herself as a "socialist" with only 21 percent saying they would.
What kind of revolution?
While some American journalists and media personalities have argued that democratic socialists like Sanders and AOC are akin to European social democrats, a close examination of their policies show they have more in common with Latin American leftists.
Politicians like Sanders and AOC have also tried likening their ideology to capitalist systems in countries like Canada and the U.K.; however, the Democratic Socialists of America, an organization that counts the freshman congresswoman among its members and is backing Sanders in the democratic primary, have been candid about their beliefs.
Additionally, Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez — along with the progressive Democrats who appease them — have promised much more than free colleges and Medicare for All. For instance, both of them have called for “public ownership" of private property and nationalizing key industries, for instance. Additionally, her Green New Deal, which is co-sponsored by five presidential candidates, promises to eliminate nuclear power and ban internal combustion engine vehicles in 10 years.
Meanwhile, this summer, an analyst at investment firm JP Morgan released a study of the democratic socialist platform and concluded that it was likelier to be found in practice in South America than northern Europe.
With Nordic countries firmly rooted in capitalism and free markets, if I wanted to find examples of democratic socialism in practice, I'd have to look elsewhere. … I couldn't find any country that ticked all these democratic socialist boxes, but I did find one that came close: Argentina, which has defaulted 7 times since its independence in 1816, which has seen the largest relative standard of living decline in the world since 1900, and which is on the brink of political and economic chaos again in 2019.
Last month, Argentina elected leftists Alberto Fernández and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner as president and vice-president, respectively, to lead the South American nation. Both have expressed sympathies with the socialist regimes in Cuba and Venezuela. A 2013 article in The Atlantic noted that, during her own presidency, de Kirchner "copied many of Venezuela's policies for her own country."