Latin America, historically, has moved like a raft floating in the ocean: forward or backward depending on the ebb and flow of the tide. In the early twentieth century it was carried away by the rising nationalism, believing that isolating itself from the world and closing in on itself, it would be able to better solve its problems. That failing, it opted for strong and autocratic governments: the dictatorships with messianic leaders. Each country exalted a dictator, some for decades, establishing a right of inheritance.
Then, that too failing and tired of patriarchs, it was the turn of the guerrillas, and an epidemic of beards and olive green uniforms covered the continent and the pages of newspapers and magazines. Guerrilla commanders organized in all countries, and commanders and others appeared, by one method or another, aspiring to the violent seizure of power.
Failing en masse, many annihilated, those that survived decided to try legality, converting themselves into political parties or totally immersing themselves in the drug trade. Then came the time of democratic presidents and neoliberalism and the Chicago School, at which the governments of Latin American map with some stability and periods of civic peace.
Then populist current burst on the scene, which has tried to spread like bird flu, but populism has no future, gripped in his own verbiage and contradictions, unable to really solve the economic problems of nations where it has been tried. What will the new wave be which will move the ailing American raft? We do not know. But it would not be wrong to say that until they decide to find land and settle in it, devoting their crew to serious and responsible work, the only proven long-lasting wealth creator, and leave off being carried by the movement of the waves, they will not find the progress or happiness.
April 5 2011