The Magazine

Trouble Down Below

What's wrong with Latin America.

May 19, 2008, Vol. 13, No. 34 • By MARK FALCOFF
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As noted earlier, Reid is troubled by our current lack of interest in the region, and thinks that more attention and resources need to be devoted to it, not just by the United States but by the European Union as well. But as he points out, "It is neither poor enough to attract pity and aid, nor dangerous enough to excite strategic calculation, nor until recently has it grown enough economically to quicken board room pulses." This, together with its deteriorating infrastructure, declining physical security, and loss of global competitiveness condemns Latin America to permanent residence in the slummy suburbs of Western civilization--an admittedly unenviable position, but one apparently determined by its tragic history.

Why outsiders should try to solve the Latin American conundrum when so many Latins themselves have all but given up on it is a question that this otherwise comprehensive book fails to address.

Mark Falcoff, resident scholar emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute, is at work on a book about the Hispanosphere.