During 1998 to 2009 socialist or leftist Presidents and Legislatures had ascended to power thru peaceful and democratic elections in Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, Chile, Paraguay, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. They were mostly re-elected and governed for at least eight years, some longer -though two were overthrown in coups (Honduras, Paraguay) and two served only one term (Chile and Guatemala). Those that survived conducted unprecedented investments in poverty reduction, land reform, education, and healthcare. At the highpoint the majority of Latin America's population lived under leftist governments.
During 2004-14 IMI pioneered educational outreach to Latino communities about the burgeoning "pink" or civic revolutions in Latin America and the Caribbean. Latin Americanist Dr. Miguel Tinker Salas of Pomona College provided regular information and advice to IMI on its "pink revolution" educational initiative. And the late Bernardo Alvarez, Venezuela's Ambassador to the US was key in enabling IMI access to the "pink" revolutions especially in Venezuela and El Salvador.
IMI sent Latino educational and election observer delegations to Venezuela, Bolivia, El Salvador, and Nicaragua to learn about progressives/ revolutionaries that were winning power thru the ballot and seeking to transform their societies thru peaceful civic empowerment and investment in human capital.
Highlights of IMI's missions included meetings with Venezuela President Hugo Chavez (2006), Salvadoran President Salvador Sanchez Ceren (2014), attendance at the founding Congress of the Venezuelan United Socialist Party (2008), attendance at the World Social Forums in Venezuela (2006) and Bolivia (2011) and observing numerous elections in Venezuela (2007, 2010, 2012, 2013).
Thru these activities IMI participants saw first-hand how poverty can be dramatically reduced thru public policies that prioritize the interests of the "vast-majority" versus those of the narrow elite in alliance with Washington, DC (as is the tradition in Latin America).
Indeed the "pink" revolutions discredited the so-called Washington consensus whose "blue eyed capitalist" economic prescriptions led to what is known as "the lost decade" in Latin America and the Caribbean.
During 2014-18 collapsed energy prices, the drug war, and US destabilization tactics combined with shortsighted "populist" decisions, corruption and inefficient governance have significantly damaged the "pink revolutions" which continue to govern in Venezuela, Nicaragua. El Salvador, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Guatemala all voted out (or impeached) "pink" governments after 1-4 terms in office, though at least some leftist parties are poised for a come back as conservative governments disappoint voters.
IMI's participants learned that first hand that while economic booms allowed unprecedented growth and poverty reduction in "pink revolutions" these changes are not politically nor economically sustainable when inevitable economic crises hit unless "pink" governments have prepared with reserve funds, long term investments in infrastructure, scrupulous good governance, vigorous anti-corruption enforcement, and structural economic changes to reduce dependence on mono-exports like energy and minerals while invigorating domestic economic activity.