Latin Neighbors Mistrust Chavez
'Chavismo' unloved in region, which is making democratic strides
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 19, 2007 2:06 PM CDT
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez greets prior to deliver a speech at the National Assembly in Caracas, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2007. Venezuela's Congress gave initial approval to President Hugo Chavez's...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Hugo Chavez's regional popularity is largely hot air, a Pew survey shows, concluding that the Venezuelan president is “widely mistrusted.” In large numbers, Latin Americans also agree that “most people are better off in a free market economy”—including 72% of Chavez’s countrymen, Weekly Standard’s Duncan Currie notes.

The right-leaning writer says Chile and Brazil are experiencing major economic growth sans Chavez-style socialism; Currie is careful to note the democrats leading those countries are “leftists.” And Chavez's acolytes in Bolivia and Ecuador rose to power not on ideology but “on practical grievances”: Their countries are the poorest. Pew also saw the US' image “eroding” throughout Latin America.