Andean adventures rather than Latin lessons

Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started ProsperingLatin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering by Hal Weitzman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is an interesting book, but not for the reasons promised in the title. It’s focused more on the Andean states (Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru) and their roller-coaster political scenes. Weitzman did reporting for the Financial Times in these countries, and has lots of great stories to illustrate his points. He’s critical of the effects of the Washington Consensus reforms (neoliberalism) that cut government services, state ownership, subsidies, but doesn’t argue for an alternative.

It’s more of a book to help Americans understand Latin America (especially the Andean countries), and it ends with a set of sensible principles for US policies towards the countries with which it shares the hemisphere. He suggests a middle road that departs from the extremes of ignoring Latin America on the one hand and interventions into the countries’ political system on the other.

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