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Warcradle Stuart

The Socialist Unity of South America - SUSA

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The Socialist Unity of South America, usually known as SUSA, grew out of a melting pot of fears, ambitions and hopes that swept across South America in the years between the fall of the Spanish and Portuguese empires and the rise of the Union of Federated States to the north after the American Civil War. The Democratic Bond of South America (DBSA) was formed after the annexation of Mexico by the United states of America in the early nineteenth century. The Democratic Bond was initially a shaky organisation, riven with difficulties and disagreements between its Portuguese, Spanish and native inhabitants, and weakened from the outset by the refusal of the late Simon Bolivar’s Gran Colombia to the north to join or support it – mostly because of the DBSA’s Portuguese majority population.

However, the Democratic Bond acquired a new sense of purpose when the great Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi arrived in Brazil with a company of followers during the mid-nineteenth century. Garibaldi fought for the DBSA’s government against the autocratic regimes holding power in Uruguay and Paraguay, which disregarded their peoples’ wish to join the Democratic Bond. Garibaldi returned to Italy a decade later, as liberal revolutions broke out across Europe and Napoleon began to establish the Latin Alliance. In Garibaldi’s absence, the DBSA did not take long to decay. Corruption became endemic, and in time the Democratic Bond became just as bad as the autocracies it replaced.

In Europe, Karl Marx published the Communist Manifesto which had hoped would ignite a revolutionary spirit in its readers. Little did he know that the place in which his ideas would be so enthusiastically taken up was Latin America, and for reasons which were far more pragmatic than the high-minded revolutionary principles he espoused.

It was the effective annexation of old Gran Colombia by the newly emerged Union of Federated States a year after the conclusion of the Civil War that eventually spurred the dissidents of the DBSA to action. The fear that the entire continent would soon be subsumed by another aggressive empire was powerfully given voice by the charismatic Elisabeta Vannez, later known as Elisabeta de Rosa. When a student in San Paolo Elisabeta had adopted Marx’s ideas and had gathered a group of loyal followers, along with her sister Idina, and set to work spreading the Communist message. Despite heavy handed attempts by the government to silence her, her support grew and grew until, during that fateful Carnival season when, in response to the Union led massacres in Bogotá, the Communists seized Sao Paolo’s main wireless station and announced a national Marxist revolution. Within a few hours, thousands were on the streets in every major city in the Democratic Bond.

The government, caught completely off-guard, capitulated in days and the Communists swept into power on a wave of euphoria. Now, Chairman de Rosa leads the Socialist Unity of South America. Through her powerful oratory and Marxist ideals, she has instilled a strong sense of purpose in what was once a decaying country. The revolution, as she sees it, is bringing progress and prosperity to all the SUSA. To her credit, she draws no distinction between the disparate peoples who inhabit the country, seeing them all as equal partners in the Socialist Unity’s future. Regrettably, however, she now sees her main mission as building up the SUSA’s armed forces.

With the Union pressing on the SUSA’s northern border, and the Celestial Empire’s near-forcible purchase of a large chunk of cash-strapped Argentina and Chile to the south, the situation is becoming urgent. The SUSA’s military forces are numerous, but still quite lightly equipped, although it does operate a small number of (rather obsolete) Land Ships, mostly purchased by the former DBSA as scrap from the old United States and then subsequently refitted.

With such limited military forces and only a littoral navy to keep the Union from making a coastal invasion, Chairman de Rosa opened dialogue through the Portuguese Ambassador with the Latin Alliance.  Though not making the Socialist Unity a formal member of the Alliance, the agreement enabled trading of raw foodstuffs in return for industrial equipment and modern weaponry, especially naval and aircraft. The delivery and training with these military investments has required allowing several Alliance garrisons, ports and air bases to be established in the Socialist Unity. There are many in the SUSA committee who believe that this is part of Napoleon’s plan to further tie them to his Latin Alliance by stealth. Frustrated with what she saw as her sister’s betrayal of the cause, Idina has headed north to ostensibly foster the revolution within the Union but, it is little more than a self-imposed exile and she has not been heard from since. Certainly, the influence that these bases have on the local communities makes it difficult for Elisabeta to push the more progressive Socialist ideals she believes in. 

In truth, neither party in this treaty is truly at ease with the other – their ideological differences are quite pronounced. However, as long as the Union and Celestial Empire remains an acute threat to the fledgling Socialist Unity of South America, Chairman de Rosa is shrewd enough to have the Alliance as allies.

Edited by Warcradle Stuart

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