The volume takes a broad view of recent social, political, and economic developments in Latin America. It contains six essays, focused on salient and cross-cutting themes, that try to construct a thread or narrative about the highly diverse region, highlighting its main idiosyncrasies and analyzing where it might be headed in coming years. While the essays recognize considerable advances, they also point out setbacks and missed opportunities that have stood in the way of sustained progress. Strengthening state capacity emerges as a significant challenge.
- Rule of Law: Catalina Botero analyzes the contrast between the aspirations contained in Latin American constitutions and the present democratic backlash in some countries.
- Crime & Violence: Robert Muggah argues that anti-crime policies in the region are torn between hardline approaches (mano dura) and citizen security initiatives.
- Economic Management: Augusto de la Torre and Alain Ize study the failure of Latin American economies to converge with developed countries, and propose a way forward to rekindle growth and boost development.
- Social Development: George Gray Molina addresses the causes of the reduction of poverty and inequality in the early 2000s, the setbacks since the end of the boom, and persistent discrimination on the basis of sex and race.
- Regional Integration: Ana Covarrubias explains the reasons and consequences of Latin America’s inability to turn regional solidarity into deep integration, and analyzes recent attempts to promote cooperation in the region.
- Latin America & the World: Andrés Malamud explores the repercussions of shifts in global power for Latin America, including an emerging China and political changes in the United States.
The book was co-edited by Inter-American Dialogue president Michael Shifter and non-resident fellow Bruno Binetti. Contributors include some of the top regional experts in their fields. Former president of Costa Rica and current co-chair of the Dialogue, Laura Chinchilla, wrote the introductory chapter.
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