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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

LatAm: The People's Choice

Analysis of the political situation in Latin America from Roger Noriega:

Recent history in the region teaches many lessons. If voters have to settle for political parties whose only principle is holding on to power, then politicians should not be surprised when populists manage to convince people that ideas don't matter. If voters are taken in by empty populist rhetoric, they should not expect government that can deliver practical results or a constructive vision. If voters choose a coup leader as president, they should not expect someone who can make democracy work. When they elect candidates who rail against the "neoliberal" model, they have no one but themselves to blame when socialist solutions strangle their economy.

But, of course, it doesn't have to be that way. Countries that choose serious and sound democrats to lead them -- regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum -- usually get accountable and responsible government. Leaders like Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil, Ricardo Lagos of Chile, Elías Antonio Saca of El Salvador, Alejandro Toledo of Peru, Martín Torrijos in Panama, Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay and others prove that democracy can produce able and even remarkable leadership.

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