Despite the rhetorical drumbeat from Hugo Chavez, not all of Latin America is mired in poverty exacerbated by free-market extremes exported from the US, the Economist writes. Led by giants Brazil and Mexico, much of the region is actually better off now than at any time in 30 years; the area is enjoying its fourth straight year of growth, averaging 5%.
The number of people living in poverty is dropping, and a lower-middle class emerging, thanks to the social policies of these democracies. As to the recent electoral successes of Chavez’s socialist counterparts, “politics sometimes lags economics,” the authors argue. The piece does caution that the countries are far from affluent and still saddled with bureaucracy.