By Mark Weisbrot
Hardly. Despite recent setbacks, it has led the region’s “second independence,” benefiting hundreds of millions.
There is a popular narrative here in Washington and media circles that Latin America’s left-populist turn has finally run its course. It goes something like this: A commodities boom, led by demand from China for Latin American raw materials exports, fueled regional economic growth in the 2000s. This happened to coincide with the election of left governments that were re-elected after spending lavishly on handouts to the poor. They alienated foreign investors and their economic policies were unsustainable. Now Chinese growth has slowed, commodity prices have gone south, and with them the fortunes of Latin America’s nationalist, populist left. November’s election of right-wing challenger Mauricio Macri as president of Argentina, the Venezuelan opposition’s landslide congressional win in December, and economic and political crisis in Brazil — including the current effort to remove President…
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