Magazine article Foreign Affairs
Recent Books on International Relations: Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering/Leftist Governments in Latin America: Successes and Shortcomings
Latin Lessons: How South America Stopped Listening to the United States and Started Prospering. by hal weitzman. Wiley, 2012, 288 pp. $25.95.
Leftist Governments in Latin America: Successes and Shortcomings. edited by kurt weyland, raúl l. madrid, and wendy hunter. Cambridge University Press, 2010, 232 pp. $89.00 (paper, $26.99).
Not every journalist who spends time overseas should write a policy book. From 2004 to 2007, Weitzman was the Financial Times' correspondent for the Andean region, based in Lima, Peru- a country on a continent that he had never before visited. Weitzman's wellwritten, colorful stories of indigenous protests against plundering multinational resource companies illuminate the appeal of leftist populists such as Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Evo Morales in Bolivia, and Rafael Correa in Ecuador. But Weitzman conflates these Andean outliers with all of South America, which in fact is typified by more temperate, realistic governments. Most disconcerting, Weitzman begins by sympathetically portraying the Andean leftist populists and excusing their resource nationalism and state interventionism, then suddenly shifts to condemning their profligate economics and confrontational politics. Weitzman seems to have changed his mind on discovering that Chávez has stoked anti-Semitism to fuel social division. Weitzman ritualistically lambasts U. …