A Latino Alt-Right? This Is How Vox Advances In Latin America

The Spanish ultra-nationalist party has been seeking for years to expand its political influence in the region. Are we close to seeing Vox in Latin America?.

Santiago Abascal at a VOX party conference

Vox is one of the Spanish parties that have revolutionized traditionally bipartisan Iberian politics, in recent years. Photo: Getty Images

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Herández

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Leer en español: ¿Más polarización política? Así avanza Vox en Latinoamérica

Vox is one of the Spanish parties that have revolutionized traditionally bipartisan Iberian politics, in recent years. Its controversial positions, conservative discourse (pulling to the extreme right), and little interest in what is politically correct, have made it the third most voted political force by Spaniards. Currently, it is only behind the PSOE and PP in parliament and its leader, Santiago Abascal, generates both love and hatred throughout the country. Like other nationalist groups, Vox was born in response to the European economic crisis of the Great Recession of 2008 that hit Spain particularly hard. This crisis in the hands of the internationalist liberals, empowered the extreme right groups, particularly eurosceptic, socially conservative, and anti-immigration coalitions such as Alternative for Germany, The Austrian Freedom Party, Golden Dawn or the Fidesz party of the Bulgarian Viktor Orbán.

If Vox was an American party, it would be a member of the Alt-Right. Today it is a space for conservatives with external positions, deniers of climate change, COVID-19, and passionate defenders of individual freedoms (except abortion, euthanasia, and homosexual marriages or adoption).

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Although in Spain they have been growing, especially in the south, their political plans have reached Latin America, a continent inevitably linked to Spain.

Vox has been seeking for years, and with some success, to be the bridge between the European "alternative right" and Latin America. Language and the past allow them a much stronger connection. It has even launched the Madrid Forum, which is a way to counteract the Sao Paulo Forum, which at the time brought together the most important politicians of the Latin American left.

Consequently, they have a section on their website called "Vox abroad." In addition to countries in Europe, they have offices in more than 10 countries in Latin America. And within their anti-immigrant discourse, they have been able to differentiate between those from Latin America and those from the rest of the world, especially those from North Africa. In a conference in Gran Canaria, Santiago Abascal explained that "A Hispanic-American immigrant is not the same as an immigrant from Islamic countries."

In Mexico, he has already had the support of several congressmen. The Spanish party received the support of 15 senators and three congressmen from the traditional National Action Party (PAN) and the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

But Mexico is not the only Latin American country where the right has already established ties with the Abascal movement. In Colombia, several politicians of the right-wing within Uribismo, see in Vox a model of a party more suitable to their ideology. Characters such as María Fernanda Cabal, a presidential candidate, are close toTrumpism and the Spanish right. She shares the idea of creating a common front against international progressivism and sees in Vox an ideal ally.

Likewise, they have also tried to open relations in Peru with the Popular Force party of the controversial Keiko Fujimori. The Vox delegation was attended by its vice president and deputy, Víctor González, MEP Hermann Tertsch and the director of the Disenso Foundation, Jorge Martín Frías.

What most unites Vox with the Latin American right is the fight against communism and especially against Chavismo. Trying to stop new leftist governments that traditionally move away from a colonial past and to keep Spain as the cornerstone of relations with the rest of Europe.

But to achieve this, if Vox manages to prove that it is a party with strong allies on the other side of the Pacific and with a nationalist discourse and recalling Imperial Spain, it could penetrate the bulk of conservative voters. Ironically, if Vox consolidates its strength abroad, it could mean an option for Spaniards who still long for a large Spain, which is the axis between Latin America and Europe, and who have seen in Latin America, Spain's natural sphere of influence. However, one thing is for Vox to reach agreements with parties related to its policies. Another is that Latin American voters see these alliances or parties as an attractive proposition. 

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