Magazine August 10, 2009, Issue

Not Your Father’s Latin America

Hugo Chávez, president of Venezuela, meets with Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, president of Brazil, in Guatemala, January 14, 2008. (Daniel Aguilar/Pantheon)
Its troubles continue, but the region has made real progess

Hugo Chávez likes to boast that history is on his side. During a recent broadcast of his talk show, Aló Presidente, the Venezuelan leader informed Barack Obama that “the process of change in Latin America is not going to stop,” even if the U.S. deploys naval fleets and fighter planes. It’s easy to dismiss such rhetoric as typical Chávez bluster. But is there a nugget of truth in it? Is Venezuela’s illiberal “Bolivarian revolution” really sweeping Latin America?

The short answer is no. The longer answer is that, while various small countries have embraced Chávez-style populism, most of the region’s large

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Of course Obama hasn’t read the health-care bill — he’s probably still working his way through the stimulus.

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