The election on Sunday of Michelle Bachelet, less than a month after that of Evo Morales, seems that Latin America has unexpectedly moved to the left. Actually, two left wings coexist in Latin America, as shown by the Venezuelan Teodoro Petkoff, possible presidential candidate in December.
There is the Brazilian model which favoured investments and lifted 15 million people out of poverty in 10 years. There is also the Venezuelan model in which social expenditures are made with a populist approach and private investments are discouraged by the obsession of power to have full control. The Venezuelan government dismantled the institutional basis of democracy. Despite the financial resources, poverty has expanded in Venezuela since Hugo Chávez took power.
Today, Latin America has the possibility to achieve a long-term growth if the countries of the continent adopt the same measures of Brazil, Mexico or Chile. The new governments that take power have better chances to keep most of their promises and be re-elected, while seeking through foreign aid, the money and time to undertake major democratic changes. “Democratically” is the key word. The new governments should not yield to the temptation of manipulating elections and weaken the balance of power.

International Herald Tribune (France)
The International Herald Tribune is a version of the New York Times adapted for the European public. It works in direct association with Haaretz (Israel), Kathimerini (Greece), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), JoongAng Daily (South Korea), Asahi Shimbun (Japan), The Daily Star (Lebanon) and El País (Spain). It also works, through its head office, in indirect association with Le Monde (France).

Turning left, but down which road?”, by Enrique ter Horst, International Herald Tribune, January 19, 2006.