December 11, 2006

THE END OF HISTORY ISN'T SINISTER:

Latin American 'left' has been shifting to the right (Andres Oppenheimer, HACER)

Right-of-center candidates won key elections in Mexico and Colombia, and centrist or center-leftist candidates who have little in common with Chávez won in Chile, Peru, Costa Rica and Brazil.

In Brazil, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva easily won reelection by clinging to his predecessor's pro-market policies, which are helping Brazil reduce poverty. In Peru, President Alan García, a former Third World radical, won by presenting himself as a pro-market candidate, and by accusing his leftist rival of being a Chávez puppet.

Even in Nicaragua, former Marxist President Daniel Ortega ran as a fervent Roman Catholic, and even backed a Church-supported law banning therapeutic abortions. Ortega is also vowing to maintain Nicaragua's recently enacted free trade agreement with Washington.

A new Latin America-wide poll released Friday may help explain what's going on in the region. The findings of the Latinobarómetro poll, conducted among 20,000 people in 18 Latin American countries, include:

# Asked to rate their ideological leanings on a scale from 0 to 10, with 0 being the left and 10 being the right, most Latin Americans placed themselves at an average of 5.4, or slightly to the right.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 11, 2006 11:59 PM
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