Democracy is Winning in Latin America

October 6, 2010 07:46

Latin America’s dictators are losing, and the forces of freedom and progress are winning.

BY Jaime Daremblum at The Weekly Standard


“Economic growth is going hand in hand with social progress,” notes the Economist. “Tens of millions of Latin Americans have climbed out of poverty and joined a swelling lower-middle class.”

As Bloomberg reports, 30 percent of the 300 U.S. companies that participated in a recent HSBC survey believe that “Latin America offers the best opportunity for growth over the next six months,” compared with only 25 percent who think China does.

The one economy that has yet to emerge from recession is Venezuela’s. Indeed, the South American country continues to suffer from sky-high inflation, a longstanding problem that got even worse after President Hugo Chávez devalued the national currency last January.

For some time now, the news from the “Bolivarian Republic” has been almost unremittingly bad, as Chávez has wrecked the economy, bludgeoned his political opponents, and worked to build a socialist dictatorship.

Venezuelans have long been frustrated by power outages, food scarcity, runaway inflation, pervasive corruption, and soaring crime rates. (According to a recent New York Times article, the murder rate in Caracas, Venezuela’s capital city, is now nearly nine times higher than that of Bogotá, Colombia, and more than 14 times higher than that of São Paulo, Brazil.)

Just look at Honduras, a true Latin American success story, whose remarkable democratic achievement is sadly underappreciated by many journalists and politicians here in the United States.

The triumph of Honduran democracy was an embarrassing defeat for Chávez, who had angrily demanded Zelaya’s return.

Jaime Daremblum is director of the Center for Latin American Studies at the Hudson Institute.


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