Nevertheless, Latin Lessons provides an able synthesis of economic,
political and social trends that is
not only suitable for general readers
and specialists, but can be useful for
U.S. policymakers, particularly those
working on issues such as drugs, immigration, trade, and energy policy.
Weitzman’s title raises intriguing
questions. Did South America really
stop listening to the U. S., or was the
U. S. message just no longer relevant?
While a few Andean countries rejected the economic ideas advocated
by the U. S., others settled into a mix
of market-oriented policies, open-
In Brazil, most voters do not iden- tify with a political party. In spite of this relatively low level of partisanship, Brazilian elections, at least
at the presidential level, have settled
down into contests between the
Partido dos Trabalhadores (PT) and the
Partido da Social Democracia Brasileira
(PSDB). The PSDB, led by Fernando
Henrique Cardoso, won the first two
post-stabilization elections (1994 and
1998), but the PT, headed by Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2002 and 2006
and Dilma Rousseff in 2010, has won
the last three contests.
In the national legislature, by con-
trast, the party of victorious presi-
nants from previous initiatives that
collectively form an incoherent, un-
satisfying and unproductive muddle.”
The author advises the U.S. to de-
velop an active presence in Latin
America based on an updated under-
standing of events (rather than on
old stereotypes) and a more sophis-
ticated perception of the issues that
bind it to the region. He calls for cre-
ative thinking, which would include
setting a new agenda that avoids the
extremes of grand plans and benign
neglect. Such an agenda should, in his
view, include new approaches to the
drug problem and Cuba, as well as im-
migration, energy security and trade.
It should also work to strengthen de-
mocracy and public institutions, sup-
porting the rule of law.
Weitzman describes a region that
is neither an eternal victim asking
for rescue nor a strong, autonomous
global player that can ignore American policies and views. He strikes a
balance bet ween seeing events in the
region as being driven by an all-powerful U.S. and viewing Latin Americans as the full authors of their fate.
Still, his analysis would have been
strengthened by enlarging his scope
to briefly discuss the moderate Left
governments in Brazil and Uruguay.
The Brazilian Left rejects the Washington Consensus, but differs from
the Andean Left in its views on the
role of markets, trade, foreign direct
investment, and foreign companies
in the economy. The commitment of
the Uruguayan Left to work within
an institutional framework contrasts
sharply with the populist approach
of leftist leaders elsewhere.
Similarly, readers would have ben-efitted from a broader analysis of
Peru that goes beyond corruption
and social exclusion to include its remarkable economic growth and the
corresponding impact on poverty and
politics. This would have helped the
reader to understand why President
Ollanta Humala shifted away from
Chávez and identified with former
Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula
da Silva during the 2011 campaign.
ness to trade and foreign investment,
along with a more vigorous state role
in key economic sectors and in providing social services for the poor.
Perhaps this indicates greater policymaking maturity, reflecting a growing capacity to undertake a more
nuanced approach to economic policy. If so, it augurs well for a region
that shows more signs of promise.
Joydeep Mukherji is a sovereign credit analyst for Standard
& Poor’s. This review reflects the
author’s personal views and not
necessarily those of his employer.
Como o eleitor
escolhe seu prefeito:
campanha e voto nas eleições municipais
Antonio Lavareda and Helcimara Telles (Editors)
Editora FGV, 2011, Softcover, 402 pages
REVIEWED BY BARRY AMES
dents has never held a majority of
seats. Still presidents have been able
to build coalitions that make effective governing majorities.
Scholarly debates about Brazilian parties and elections mostly focus on presidential elections and on
the roles of partisanship and ideology, with retrospective assessments
of the economy and administration.
These debates are important, but they
suffer from one problem: presidential elections are single events held
in unique circumstances.
Como o eleitor escolhe seu prefeito:
campanha e voto nas eleições municipais (How Voters Choose Mayors:
155 Americas Quarterly SPRING 2012