Social and Economic Frontiers in Latin America

Social and Economic Frontiers in Latin America

Social and Economic Frontiers in Latin America

Social and Economic Frontiers in Latin America

Excerpt

The success in marketing Modern Latin America, my first book devoted to the good neighbors to the south, made it inevitable that a second should follow. That posed the question of whether to attempt a revision of the first book or to write a new one.

The alternative of a revision was quickly discarded. The play now moves so fast in Latin America that mere revisions will not suffice to keep the reader up-to-date on conditions prevailing in the area. The portraits sketched of Argentina, Cuba, and Venezuela in the first book hardly portray these countries as they are today, only three years later. I have not however, in this second book, hesitated to borrow heavily from the first. But I have borrowed preferentially those sections that dwell on what we might call the fundamental characteristics of the Latin American scene -- those that change but slowly.

Since I hope this book will find acceptance as a textbook for courses in Latin American subjects, the inclusion of some statistics has been unavoidable. And it would be difficult to confine the book to a description of fundamentals and long-term trends without mention of some of the more outstanding of the current happenings. A book on Latin America appearing after 1961, for example, that did not contain some reference to the Fidel Castro revolution in Cuba would sound rather queer.

One of my tasks in this second book, as in its predecessor, has been to separate fact from legend, to take the objective look, to draw a picture of Latin America as it is, or as it would appear to one who journeyed there for the first time without having heard any of the legends about it. This chore I approach with misgivings. The role of the debunker is a thankless one. Men and women part with material possessions more readily than with a fond idyl. And many are the idyls . . .

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