Some years ago three former Latin American leftists wrote a classic book, Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot, in which they detailed the cultural factors and idiotic thinking on politics and economics which kept Latin America poor. I often thought that were I rich, my contribution to the welfare of South America would be to distribute this book (in its native Spanish) to every library and high school student in Latin America.
The President of Peru, Alan Garcia, shows he's gotten the message though I can't be certain he read the book.
LIMA, April 4 (Reuters) - An ideological battle has split Latin America between open democracies embracing free markets and leftist regimes opposing them, Peru President Alan Garcia said on Friday.Garcia, a former leftist whose first term in the 1980s ended in economic chaos, now fervently supports free trade and mainstream policies that helped Peru's economy grow 9 percent last year, one of the fastest paces in the world.
"South America looks like it's in a type of Cold War, like the big ideological blocs of the 20th century," Garcia said at the Reuters Latin America Investment Summit.
Chile, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Panama favor open markets and are generating more jobs than leftist governments, he said, in apparent reference to Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Nicaragua.(snip)
"The only way to grow is to have markets," he said. "The worst recipe in this fast-moving, modern world is to shut yourself off, like Robinson Crusoe on an island."
Peru's leader, who once favored nationalizing the country's banks, now spends much of his time luring foreign investment, and on Wednesday Fitch Ratings became the first major credit rating agency to lift Peru to investment grade, a change that will attract more capital.
Perhaps after he transforms Peru he can have a heart -to-heart with the Democrats here.