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Rice On Statism In Latin America

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says that while most governments in Latin America agree that democracy is essential for social, political, and economic development, a few are pursuing a tried-and-failed statism:

“There are some in the region today who want to shove toward a future of authoritarian politics and state-run economies. In truth, this is a backward-looking agenda with a long history of deepening poverty and misery. The real revolution in the Americas today is being led by responsible democratic leaders, like [Chilean President Michelle] Bachelet and [Brazilian President Luiz Inacio] Lula [da Silva], [Uruguayan President Tabaré] Vázquez and [Colombian President Álvaro] Uribe, [Peruvian President Alan] Garcia and [Panamanian President Martín] Torrijos, [Mexican President Felipe] Calderón and [El Salvadoran President Antonio] Saca. Their democratic governments, and many others, from left to right, are deepening the Pan-American consensus on creating opportunity for all through free markets, economic growth, and democracy.”

This, says Ms. Rice, “is the real story of recent years: not the so-called ‘Left Turn’ that we hear so much about”:

“Authoritarianism may be a competing idea with free-market democracy, but it is not an alternative vision -- because one leads to success, the other leads to failure. Trying to alleviate poverty and inequality in the Americas through authoritarianism is like trying to defy the laws of gravity. The only question is how much harm this failed idea will do to our region.”

In large part, says Secretary of State Rice, “the answer lies with us -- in whether we support responsible democracies that want more engagement, more partnership, and more trade with the United States, not less.”