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Grand Old Man?


There’s a piece in today’s New York Times on how Latin America’s ‘political compass’ is veering ‘toward the Left”. Castro is flatteringly referred to as ‘the grand old man of the Latin American left’. It’s a curious description for a dictator whose dated policy prescriptions have generally been rejected by the region’s left for years now.

The writer of the article goes on to note how Castro and three other Latin American leaders “share similarities” including “opposition to the unfettered market reforms that have failed so far to bring prosperity to Latin America”. Well, yes, but only in the most literal sense – Castro, who is something of a fan of fetters (both real and figurative) tends to be opposed to almost all market reforms, whether unfettered or not.

As to the comment about how these supposedly ‘unfettered’ reforms have worked, it’s worth saying that while the reforms may be unfettered, the markets in which they are supposed to work are not – thus the need, the problem and, inevitably, the delay.

If it wants to find a system that has failed to bring prosperity, the New York Times needs to check out the ‘grand old man’: he knows a thing or two about economic incompetence.


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