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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

By Beatrice E. Rangel

The Americas in general have always strived to become the proud children of mother Europe.

The United States, while rejecting the political systems available at the time of its creation, sought to replicate in the newfound land the economic and welfare status of the Old Continent.

Latin American nations while rejecting in their rhetoric the opprobrious political systems of the Spanish Crown kept its institutional framework intact after independence as it would provide local elites a shield from foreign competition and means to maintain political privileges.

In a nut shell, Latin American nations chose to walk the road of history hand in hand with King Phillip II of Spain. Both shores of the Rio Bravo however kept Europe as a sort of cultural role model.

And the European spell seems to have a great pull in the 21st century. The United States seems to be readying itself for a presidential competition involving the two most powerful dynasties in the land. On the one hand, there will be Jeb Bush -- son and brother to US presidents -- and on the other there will be Hillary Clinton -- former First Lady, Senator and Secretary of State.

Mrs. Clinton of course can claim she is a minority and if luck smiles on her she will become the first female to be elected U.S. president -- but she will have great difficulties claiming that she represents Jane Doe from Main Street .

It was back in 1980 when the name Bush attracted world interest. Former President George Bush (41) made an unsuccessful attempt to win the Republican nomination but ended up being Ronald Reagan’s running mate.

The name Clinton became a national label in 1978 when William Jefferson won the Arkansas governorship, becoming the youngest governor in the land. By 1992 Clinton had turned into an international label by virtue of becoming the 42nd president of the United States and unseating the one term George Bush the Elder.

Clinton was, of course, succeeded by George Bush the Younger, who defeated the Clinton Vice President Al Gore. Meanwhile Mrs. Clinton became Senator for the State of New York in 2001, ran unsuccessfully against Barrack Obama for the democratic presidential nomination and was appointed Secretary of State in 2009. She most probably is the most successful woman in politics after Eleanor Roosevelt.

But Mrs. Clinton could hardly claim she represents change. Should one have the capacity to travel through time backtracking and fast forwarding current US politics would look very much like 15th century England where Yorks and Lancasters were fighting for the throne.* Too bad that Chelsea Clinton is already married thereby preventing current US history ending like British history with a marriage that sealed the destiny of England, uniting Henry Tudor with Elizabeth York. One wonders what the Founding Fathers would have to say about this episode of American history.

And South of the Rio Grande the issue seems to be the inexorable march of modernity over the hemisphere.

For too long a time the Latin American left has believed in replicating the Fidel Castro story. All you need to do is to find a message that wins the hearts and minds of the have-nots, make them follow you blindly, bring down the existing institutional framework, highjack the heart of economic performance, fiercely repress dissenters, and build a society where the only men left standing are victims or accomplices.

This recipe had done wonders for the Man at the Island and should work for everyone else in Latam, lefties believe.

Nobody, of course, ever thought that the 21st century rising world power would have little interest in politics and a huge interest in economics. To be sure, the days of Soviet thinking are long gone: Factories to create products nobody wants; planned economic activity and generous subsidies to allies are not parts of the Chinese script. So from the outset, you need to understand, command and succeed at capitalism in this 21st century.

Another missing element in the lefty's analysis is that, except for the Caribbean where people are safely anchored in their British background, there are not any big islands left in the continent. All nations therefore experience live borders with brisk or passive exchanges but with exchanges. These bring products, services and information from the surrounding countries.

If you happen to be Bolivia, surrounded by Chile, Brazil, Paraguay and Peru -- countries with growing economic activity, and in the case of Chile, a mature political system -- your border folks are going to learn that there are cheaper ways to produce goods, greater economic opportunities, and greater political freedom around them. And sooner or later they are going to want to have that as well.

Your clinch over freedom will begin to be challenged first from one front and eventually from all over the country. Needless to discuss here the disenchantment with the regime that unfolds when Main Street has to accept a reduced margin for its economic efforts because he has to share those with regimen factotums who produce nothing.

Finally, there is the ubiquitous Internet. That invisible foe that makes you look so bad when you lie; that shows the true nature of men; regimes and institutions and that allows your victims to share their lot with the universe. For all these reasons you would think that Foro de Sao Paulo habitués should hold their next session in London, England at the London School of Economics so that they get ready for what is soon to come. The overturn of Marxism enveloped corporativism in Latam. Its about time they emulate the right side of Europe.

*The Wars of the Roses were a series of dynastic wars for the throne of England. They were fought between supporters of two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet, the houses of Lancaster and York. They were fought in several sporadic episodes between 1455 and 1487, although there was related fighting before and after this period. The conflict resulted from social and financial troubles that followed the Hundred Years' War, combined with the mental infirmity and weak rule of Henry VI, which revived interest in the alternative claim to the throne of Richard, Duke of York.

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.


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