Socialist Union of South America (SUSA)
When Karl Marx first published the Communist Manifesto he had hoped that it 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.
The Socialist Union of South America, usually known as SUSA, grew out a of 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 United, and then the Federated States of America to the north. The then Democratic Union of South America (DUSA) was formed in 1837, in response to the US annexation of Mexico. It 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 DUSA’s Portuguese majority population.
However the Union acquired a new sense of purpose when the great Italian patriot Giuseppe Garibaldi arrived in Brazil with a company of followers during the 1840s. Garibaldi fought for the DUSA’s government against the autocratic regimes holding power in Uruguay and Paraguay, which disregarded their peoples’ wish to join the new Union. Garibaldi returned to Italy in 1848, as liberal revolutions broke out across Europe. The DUSA, however, did not take long to decay. Corruption became endemic, and in time the Union became just as bad as the autocracies it replaced.
It was the effective annexation of old Gran Colombia by the FSA in the 1860s that eventually spurred the dissidents of the DUSA to action. The fear that the entire continent would soon be subsumed by another gringo empire was powerfully given voice by the charismatic Elisabeta Rives, later known as Elisabeta de Rosa. A student in Milan during 1848, de Rosa had subsequently adopted Marx’s ideas. Returning to Sao Paolo, she had gathered a group of loyal followers 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 Carnival season in 1866, 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 Union.
The government, caught completely off-guard, capitulated in days and the Communists swept into power on a wave of euphoria.Now, Chairman de Rosa, still a passionate revolutionary at the age of 42, leads the Socialist Union 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 of the Union. To her credit, she draws no distinction between the disparate peoples who inhabit the country, seeing them all as equal partners in the Socialist Union’s future. Regrettably, however, she now sees her main mission now as building up the SUSA’s armed forces.
With the FSA pressing on the Union’s northern border, and now the Empire of the Blazing Sun’s near-forcible purchase of a large chunk of cash-strapped Argentina to the south, the situation is becoming urgent. The Union’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 DUSA as scrap from the old United States and then subsequently refitted.
Chairman de Rosa has also recently signed a treaty with the Kingdom of Britannia, effectively trading raw foodstuffs in return for industrial equipment and modern weaponry, especially naval and aircraft. 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 Empire of the Blazing Sun remains a potential threat, Chairman de Rosa, who is in fact capable of far more shrewdness than her public image suggests, is more than happy to have the Britannians as allies, and thus far, the feeling is mutual.