We are going through times where we can see the rapid retrogression and collapse of a 500-year paradigm with the naked eye. A very symbolical and significant ceremony indicating this whole paradigm shift was held in the Argentinean capital of Buenos Aires last week. Argentina removed the statue of Christopher Columbus, who is known for his exploration of the Americas and his enslavement of indigenous peoples, in Buenos Aires and replaced it with the statue of South American guerrilla military leader Juana Azurduy Bermudez, who fought for independence. The 16-meter monument was the Bolivian government's gift to the Argentinean government.
It is a major and pleasing development that the traces of a genocide-perpetrator, Columbus, have started to be erased from Latin America. Also, it is a step toward a new and united Latin America where borders are removed. In this regard, the story of the replacement of the statue of a genocide committer with that of a female freedom fighter tells us many things. Azurduy was born in the Spanish colony of Rio de la Plata, which covers the current territories of Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, in 1780. Born to a Spanish father and an indigenous mother, she could speak two local languages - Quechua and Aymara - and Spanish. When she was a child, her father was killed by Spaniards and the killers went unpunished. At the age of 12, she was sent to a convent to become a nun; however she was expelled at the age of 17 due to rebelliousness.
When the revolt against Spain began, Azurduy built an army. As the leader of 6,000 guerillas, she achieved a number of military successes, including the seizure of a silver mine that was of vital importance to the Spaniards from 1809 to 1825. She gave birth to a baby girl but lost her four sons and husband during the war. Her story bears many unforgettable political messages that are applicable today and in the future. For instance, the fact that Azurdy was born in Rio de la Plata, which was one of the most important Spanish colonies at that time, indicates the insignificance of borders in Latin America. Likewise, Jose Marti's struggle for independence for the whole of Latin America and the fact that he is the "national hero" of not only a country but a number of countries in Latin America speaks to the colonization of Latin America as a whole. Now, in the first quarter of the 21st century, all Latin American countries are seeking a united path of development together. Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay and others have come to realize that they have had a common problem since Columbus explored the Americas. Now, Latin America has started to lay claim to its resources, natural wealth and human capital that have been plundered for many years. In the 20th century, the U.S. replaced the Spanish hegemony and colonial system of the past.
During the 20th century, Latin America was looted by the U.S.-affiliate military governments. The military juntas committed massacres, which were the reminiscent of the genocides of the 18th and 19th centuries, and trampled on civil liberties and democracy. At this very moment, Latin America is displaying its will for independence in a united way on a state and governmental level for the first time in its history. Previously, opposition movements, civil society and resistance movements played a major political role against the colonization of Latin America. Now, this political move has reached a governmental level for the first time.
One of the current examples of this is the launching of the New Development Bank (NDB) in Shanghai, China, this week, which has been founded by BRICS states - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. In the first stage, the NDB will raise funds for infrastructure and development projects in the BRICS countries, eliminating the importance and function of the World Bank as a Bretton Woods institution in the territory spanning from Latin America to India. The NDB should never be confined to BRICS, as Brazil's presence means the whole of Latin America; China's presence implies the whole Asia Pacific and India's presence signifies the whole of Asia Minor. Furthermore, the NDB is not different from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), which was founded by 57 countries under the leadership of China. Both institutions are two concrete steps indicating that the Bretton Woods system is regressing gradually. In addition to China and Russia, Latin American and Asian countries are increasingly making bilateral trade agreements that will bring forward trade that is based on the countries' local currencies rather than the dollar. It appears that those bilateral trade agreements will spread to the entirety of the east and south like an epidemic. The energy agreements that have been made between China and Russia alone tell us many things in this regard. China made a 30-year $400 billion worth of energy alliance with Russia, in addition to a $284 billion agreement that focuses on natural gas. Moreover, a step was taken to remove 85 percent of tariffs that are requested from Australia's commodity exports to China. Here, China and Russia accepted to pay with their local currencies to leave aside the U.S. dollar.
China is not the sole country that has started to question the dollar. A 2010 U.N. report called for abandoning the dollar as a unique reserve currency. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) also verbalized its desire for an independent reserve currency. This picture tells us many things. The world is establishing a new trade and economy cycle that starts from the east and south. The U.S., U.K. and the EU's acknowledgement of this inevitable reality will be for the good of all mankind. U.S. President Barack Obama is a leader who takes steps toward the ultimate peace. This spurt should continue and the fact that developing countries embrace their own future and fate should bring a new politics that is accepted by the U.N.