The term "pink tide" (Spanish: marea rosa, Portuguese: onda rosa) or "turn to the Left" (Sp.: vuelta hacia la izquierda, Pt.: Guinada à Esquerda) are phrases used in contemporary 21st century political analysis in the media and elsewhere to describe the perception that leftist ideology in general, and left-wing politics in particular, that were increasingly becoming influential in Latin America.
According to the BBC, a "common element of the 'pink tide' is a clean break with what was known at the outset of the 1990s as the 'Washington consensus', the mixture of open markets and privatisation pushed by the United States". According to Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, a pink tide president herself, Hugo Chávez of Venezuela (inaugurated 1999), Lula da Silva of Brazil (inaugurated 2003) and Evo Morales of Bolivia (inaugurated 2006) were "the three musketeers" of the left in South America. By 2005, the BBC reported that out of 350 million people in South America, three out of four of them lived in countries ruled by "left-leaning presidents" elected during the preceding six years.
Use of the term
The term "pink tide" has become prominent in contemporary discussion of Latin American politics. Origins of the term may be linked to a statement by Larry Rohter, a New York Times reporter in Montevideo who characterized the election of Tabaré Vázquez as leader of Uruguay as "not so much a red tide…as a pink one." The term seems to be a play on words based on "red tide" (a biological phenomenon rather than a political one) with "red" – a color long associated with communism – being replaced with the lighter tone of "pink" to indicate the more moderate communist and socialist ideas gaining strength.
Despite the presence of a number of Latin American governments which profess to embracing a leftist ideology, it is difficult to categorize Latin American states "according to dominant political tendencies, like a red-blue post-electoral map of the United States." According to the Institute for Policy Studies, a liberal non-profit think-tank based in Washington, D.C.:
|“||…a deeper analysis of elections in Ecuador, Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Mexico indicates that the "pink tide" interpretation—that a diluted trend leftward is sweeping the continent—may be insufficient to understand the complexity of what's really taking place in each country and the region as a whole.||”|
While this political shift is difficult to quantify, its effects are widely noticed. According to the Institute for Policy Studies, 2006 meetings of the South American Summit of Nations and the Social Forum for the Integration of Peoples demonstrated that certain discussions that "used to take place on the margins of the dominant discourse of neoliberalism, (have) now moved to the center of public debate."
|This section requires expansion. (December 2015)|
|“||…elections results in Latin America appear to have confirmed a left-wing populist and anti-U.S. trend – the so-called “pink tide” – which, along with the recent disclosures regarding ties between right-wing paramilitaries and the government of Colombian President Álvaro Uribe, poses serious threats to Washington's multi-billion-dollar anti-drug effort in the Andes.||”|
The death of Hugo Chávez in 2013 left the most radical wing without a clear leader, as Nicolás Maduro does not have the same international influence of his predecessor. National policies among the left are divided between the styles of Chávez and Lula da Silva, as Lula focused on the poor people but also in private enterprises and global capital.
In 2014 and into 2015, multiple protests occurred against leftist governments. In Venezuela, the 2014–15 Venezuelan protests occurred due to socioeconomic problems and corruption. The 2014–15 Nicaraguan protests occurred do to actions performed by President Ortega and the construction of the Nicaragua Canal. In Brazil, millions of Brazilians protested in the 2015 protests in Brazil over corruption surrounding President Rousseff and economic difficulties, demanding her impeachment. The 2015 Ecuadorian protests occurred when Ecuadorians began to disapprove of actions made by President Correa.
In 2015, the shift away from the left became more pronounced in Latin America, with Vice News stating that 2015 was "The Year the 'Pink Tide' Turned". Economic hardships occurred in countries such as Brazil and Venezuela as oil and commodity prices declined. The United States–Cuban Thaw occurred with Cuba reproaching the United States when Cuba's main international partner, Venezuela, began experiencing economic hardships.
|“||You’re seeing this wave or tide or whatever you want to call it has run its course. They don’t have the economic sustenance to continue ... This kind of fiery leftist rhetoric was a function of the economic situation, and that has changed dramatically for many of these countries".||”|
Leftist leaders saw a sharp decline of support with Brazil's Dilma Rousseff approval dropping to 9% as of July 2015, Peru's Ollanta Humala at 14% as of October 2015, Chile's Michelle Bachelet near 24% as of September 2015 and Nicolás Maduro at 24.3% in July 2015. Elections also signified the decline of the Pink tide. The election of the center-right Mauricio Macri in November 2015 as President of Argentina marked the populist movement of Kirchnerismo's end in Argentina. In Venezuela, the opposition electoral coalition Democratic Unity Roundtable won a 2/3 supermajority of the Venezuelan National Assembly the 2015 Venezuelan parliamentary election a month after the election of Macri in December 2015.
Below are Left-wing and Centre-left presidents elected in Latin America since 1990 Note: Centre-left presidents are marked with *
- Nicaragua: Daniel Ortega (1979–1990, 2007–present)
- Chile: Patricio Aylwin* (1990-1994), Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle* (1994-2000), Ricardo Lagos* (2000–2006), Michelle Bachelet* (2006–2010, 2014–present)
- Dominican Republic: Leonel Fernández* (1996–2000, 2004–2012), Danilo Medina* (2012–present) 
- Venezuela: Hugo Chávez (1999–2013), Nicolás Maduro (2013-present)
- Argentina: Néstor Kirchner* (2003–2007), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner* (2007–2015)
- Brazil: Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva* (2003–2011), Dilma Rousseff* (2011–present)
- Uruguay: Tabaré Vázquez* (2005–2010, 2015–present), José Mujica* (2010–2015)
- Bolivia: Evo Morales (2006–present)
- Honduras: Manuel Zelaya* (2006–2009)
- Paraguay: Fernando Lugo (2008–2012)
- Ecuador: Rafael Correa (2007–present)
- Guatemala: Álvaro Colom* (2008–2012)
- El Salvador: Mauricio Funes* (2009–2014), Salvador Sánchez Cerén* (2014-present)
- Peru: Ollanta Humala* (2011–present)
- Costa Rica: Luis Guillermo Solís* (2014–present)
- Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas
- Foro de São Paulo
- History of Latin America
- Latin American drug legalization
- Latin American integration
- Socialism of the 21st century
- "Latin America after 9/11: Geopolitics and the Pink Tide", John Beverley, Berfrois, 6 January 2012
- Karin Fischer & Dieter Plehwe: The "Pink Tide" and Neoliberal Civil Society Formation, State of Nature, 2013.
-  Boston Globe: The many stripes of anti-Americanism
-  BBC News: South America's leftward sweep
-  Pittsburg Tribune-Herald: Latin America's 'pragmatic' pink tide
-  SustainabiliTank: Guatemala
- Noel, Andrea (29 December 2015). "The Year the 'Pink Tide' Turned: Latin America in 2015 | VICE News". VICE News. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
-  Institute for Policy Studies: Latin America's Pink Tide?
-  Inter Press Service: Challenges 2006–2007: A Bad Year for Empire
- Latin America's political right in decline as leftist governments move to middle
- Partlow, Joshua; Caselli, Irene (23 November 2015). "Does Argentina’s pro-business vote mean the Latin American left is dead?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- "Why the United States and Cuba are cosying up". The Economist. 29 May 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2015.
- Usborne, David (4 December 2015). "Venezuela’s ruling socialists face defeat at polls". The Independent. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- "Avaliação positiva do governo Dilma cai para 9%". Carta Capital. 1 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
- Diario La República. "Aprobación de Ollanta Humala en octubre de 2015".
- Rosario Álvarez, Adimark: Bachelet obtiene 24% de aprobación registrando la peor cifra en la historia de la encuesta Politica, 02 de septiembre del 2015
- Ulmer, Alexandra (13 August 2015). "Popularity of Venezuela's Maduro inches down to 24.3 percent". Reuters. Retrieved 30 December 2015.
- The Dominican Liberation Party in which both Dominican presidents belong to has a centrist position.
- During his presidency Zelaya was a member of the Liberal Party of Honduras.