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The Left That Never Was  

In 1998, many North American and European intellectuals hailed the emergence of a new Latin American left when Hugo Chávez ascended to the presidency of Venezuela. When Evo Morales became president of Bolivia in 2006, and Rafael Correa won the …



Latin America: Captive to Commodities  

The countries of Latin America remain highly susceptible to international political and economic trends. Since 2002, the region has prospered: growth has been close to 6 percent per year—the highest since the 1970s, and far above the lackluster, long-run average …



Asia Looms over Latin America  

An anecdote from business circles in Latin America tells of a textile manufacturer in El Salvador, who, reeling from Chinese competition, travels to China and visits the sprawling plant of one of his competitors. He knows that Chinese labor costs …



Good-bye to the ‘Third World’  

At a conference, I kept hearing the term “emerging countries.” After awhile I leaned over and asked my neighbor, Noel Ramírez, then president of Nicaragua’s Central Bank, if Nicaragua was an emerging country. He whispered back, “submerging.” Noel was being …





Big Fox, Little Village  

Much ink has been spilled proclaiming the recent Mexican presidential elections epochal, monumental, even revolutionary. The election of Vicente Fox, the candidate of the National Action Party (PAN), ended seventy-one years of rule by the Institutionalized Revolutionary Party (PRI). No …



Inequality in Latin America  

Every year the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) publishes a monograph titled Economic and Social Progress in Latin America. Most years the reports address a particular theme, some of them of narrow interest. Reading them can be tedious; they are written …







Crime in Latin America  

San Jose, Costa Rica : The telephone rang; Danilo said, “Hello.” “This is Bam-Bam. I hear you have lost something.” “Yes, my car was stolen.” “If you authorize me, if you authorize me, I will look for it, providing that …



Democracy in Latin America  

I recently asked a young Brazilian in Rio de Janeiro how President Fernando Henrique Cardoso was doing. “Oh, he is doing fine.” A pause. “It is the rest of us who are not doing so well.” This beguiling response can …



The Malling of Latin America  

The Zimbabwean novelist Chenjerai Hove has said, “In hard times the artist will blend images of despair with those of hope. In good times the writer will depict the madness of over-eating at the expense of cultivating other values.” In …