Forgotten Continent : The Battle for Latin America's Soul

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  • Format: Trade Book
  • Copyright: 2008-01-03
  • Publisher: Yale University Press

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Latin America has often been condemned to failure. Neither poor enough to evoke Africa's moral crusade, nor as explosively booming as India and China, it has largely been overlooked by the West. Yet this vast continent, home to half a billion people, the world's largest reserves of arable land, and 8.5 percent of global oil, is busily transforming its political and economic landscape. This book argues that rather than failing the test, Latin America's efforts to build fairer and more prosperous societies make it one of the world's most vigorous laboratories for capitalist democracy. In many countriesincluding Brazil, Chile and Mexicodemocratic leaders are laying the foundations for faster economic growth and more inclusive politics, as well as tackling deep-rooted problems of poverty, inequality, and social injustice. They face a new challenge from Hugo Chavez's oil-fuelled populism, and much is at stake. Failure will increase the flow of drugs and illegal immigrants to the United States and Europe, jeopardize stability in a region rich in oil and other strategic commodities, and threaten some of the world's most majestic natural environments. Drawing on Michael Reid's many years of reporting from inside Latin America's cities, presidential palaces, and shantytowns, the book provides a vivid, immediate, and informed account of a dynamic continent and its struggle to compete in a globalized world.

Author Biography

Michael Reid is editor of the Americas section of the Economist. Previously based in Brazil, Mexico, and Peru, he has traveled throughout Latin America and reported for the BBC, the Guardian, and the Economist since 1982.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vii
List of Charts and Tablesp. ix
Maps of the Regionp. x
Prefacep. xii
The Forgotten Continentp. 1
The Latin American Conundrump. 30
The Seed of Democracy in the Land of the Caudillop. 52
Cold War and Revolution: The United States and the Left Reject Democracyp. 81
Failed Reformers, Debt-ridden Dictators: The Right Rejects Democracyp. 106
The Rise and Fall of the Washington Consensusp. 124
The Populist Challengep. 159
The Reformist Responsep. 179
Changing Societiesp. 212
Evolving Statesp. 233
The Stubborn Resilience of Flawed Democraciesp. 264
The Loneliness of Latin Americap. 293
Glossaryp. 316
Notesp. 322
Bibliographyp. 357
Indexp. 366
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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