The Lost Continent by Moises Naim Latin America (LA) The region where the US govt. meddled in local politics, fought communists, and promoted its business interests After 9/11: LA became the ?lost continent? (the world?s attention turned to other issues) Minor economic player whose significance is declining; nuclear-weapons free zone; its only weapon is cocaine Washington?s disinterest led to the emergence of leaders hostile to the US and populists LA does not matter? The left turn 1990s: LA politicians promised economic reforms and closer ties to US New political leaders (Venezuela, Argentina, Bolivia) win elections by promising to help the poor and battle the rich, denouncing the corruption and inequality generated by ?savage capitalism?, and challenging the international abuses of the United States. Chavez (Venezuela, 1998), da Silva (Brazil, 2002), Kirchner (Argentina, 2003) represented left wing coalitions and reasserted independence from US However, they did not really deliver on their promises The left turn H. Chavez: developing close ties with prominent US foes worldwide and influence the domestic politics of his neighboring countries The 2005 presidential elections in 12 countries in LA did not lead to the election of Chavez?s allies The populist ideas are still appealing in LA but voters are eager to vote for new candidates which offer solutions to improve the status quo If not left, then were? A wide variety of frustrations: anti-market frustrations; dissatisfaction with the corruption. Responses: massive public spending, governmental price control (Venezuela, Argentina); unpopular economic policies (Mexico, Chile) Trends in LA: mediocre economic performance and decay of political parties Short episodes of ec. growth followed by financial crashes with devastating effects on the poor Political parties lost their legitimacy and credibility If not left, then were? The major problem is?. LA is unable to find ways to compete more effectively in a globalized economy With its high wages and low technology, LA is not able to compete with the low-wage Asian economies The waiting game LA?s most important deficit is patience Without patience, governments will pick policies that can generate rapid results and investors will focus on projects that offer quick returns Large-scale social progress require years of sustained efforts that are not replaced by a new ?big-bang? solutions The need for an agreement on a set of basic shared goals and ideas among major political players
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