The Corner


A Reliable Voice in a Troubled Region

David Luhnow, the Latin America bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal, in his office with Snowy. Mexico City, February 27, 2019. (Jay Nordlinger)

The above photo was taken just before we recorded a podcast. Snowy looks a little less excited about the event than we were. Snowy is one of David Luhnow’s several dogs, who live both at home and at the office.

He is the Latin America bureau chief of the Wall Street Journal — David, not Snowy — and one of the best journalists in the entire region. He lives and works in Mexico City, where we recorded our Q&A (here). Luhnow grew up in Mexico City, in an American family.

His brother Jeff has an interesting job, and one he is very good at: general manager of the Houston Astros (the 2017 World Series champions). David and I begin our podcast talking a little baseball. He was a Cincinnati Reds fan back when, for an interesting reason.

After baseball, we turn to Latin America — beginning with its murder problem. As Luhnow explains, the world’s leading region for murder is not the Middle East or Africa or anywhere else but Latin America. Why is that? There are several causes, which Luhnow explores — and one of them never occurred to me, so far as I can remember. I will quote something Luhnow has written: “Another reason there is so much crime in Latin America is domestic violence. Many women grow up fearful of men, some of whom who resent female independence. And violence at home damages children, who often grow up to become violent themselves.”

As the podcast continues, we talk about Venezuela and a host of other issues: political, cultural, and philosophical. There are some nasty dictatorships in Latin America — and, as Luhnow points out, they are all left-wing. In the past, dictatorships in the region tended to be right-wing.

What about Mexico itself, where we are having our talk? The new president is AMLO, or, more formally, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Already, he has given cause for concern. If Mexican democracy cratered, that would be a disaster, not least for Mexicans.

From David Luhnow, you can learn a lot. He has. And he imparts what he knows in clearest terms. Again, our podcast is here.

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