Friday, December 20, 2019

How Not To Assess Latin America

The former Latin America editor for The Financial Times gives his end-of-year look at Latin America and it is frustratingly bad.

For the first time since the end of the Cold War geo-political divisions are increasingly evident in Latin America. Recent elections in Mexico (2018) and Argentina (2019) have given new life to nationalist, anti-American and left-wing populism, even though its results have been so disastrous in Venezuela. In the pro-US camp a virulent right-wing populism has emerged with a vengeance in Brazil. At the same time successful pro-western and market friendly democracies such as Colombia and Chile are facing social unrest that could lead to new political challenges from the populist right or left.
No, no, no. Repeat after me: there is no us/them in Latin America. There is no left/right in Latin America. AMLO is kissing up to Donald Trump and so is hardly anti-American. At this point, populism is often a throwaway term for the left you don't like. Comparing Mexico and Argentina to Venezuela is just lazy.

As for Colombia and Chile, the fact that massive protests erupt might just suggest those market-friendly systems aren't quite as successful as you think, though of course this depends on your definition of success.

I don't even know what geo-political divisions he claims because he doesn't explain that.


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