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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Upstairs Downstairs in the Americas
Former Venezuela Presidential Chief of Staff Beatrice Rangel takes a look at what is driving the new generation of Latin American leaders.

By Beatrice E. Rangel

The 1970's popular British TV series "Upstairs, Downstairs" depicted the trials of an aristocratic family and their household.

Viewers were invited to share the lives of two segments of British society: leaders and followers.

And as you dived into the convoluted life of residents of 165 Eaton Place in the posh neighborhood of Belgravia, the strengths of British civic culture became apparent as did the weaknesses derived from a society that had failed to spread technological advancements widely among its population.

Civic culture clearly is the nationhood catalyzer and the inspiration to sacrifice present wellbeing to build a better future for generations to come.

But civic culture also acts as a progress inhibiting factor in so far as it protects an uneven playing field for the privilege of those living Upstairs.

For those fortunate human beings life flows between business deals, political intrigues and failed love affairs.

Downstairs is all about getting ahead and securing a retirement place with a small garden and a view of the English countryside.

Upstairs everything is about competition.

Downstairs about solidarity.

The snapshots of these two segments of the British population while being a gross generalization of their behavioral patterns and motivations provide nevertheless grounds to describe what has prevented Latin America from attaining higher development levels.

Just as England's social fabric failed to detect the fundamental changes that were brewing in a world largely shaped and nursed by her technology explosion and trade policies, Latin America today fails to see the opportunity entailed in the U.S.'s inescapable industrial redeployment to leap frog growth stages.

These opportunities are basically found in the areas of energy and training.

The region's riches in wind and solar energy; rivers and waterfalls hydroelectric power and oil and gas could propel the southern border of Rio Grande into full fledge development in so far as these resources are used in the creation of a trade architecture that enhances Pacific exchanges while creating markets to U.S. platforms that are operated by artificial intelligence.

This would, of course, demand the trashing of the traditional mindset that seeks the establishment or preservation of competition-free areas that keep foreigners away while preserving rent extraction.

It would also demand heightened investments in training to develop digital skills in the youth and aptitudes that would lead them to create and transform software to satisfy the growing content revolution.

The third technology wave will wipe away the current establishment anyway but it would be less painful and trying for those living downstairs if the elites embraced change instead of clinging to current privileges.

Fortunately for the region there is a new generation about to take leadership of in most countries of Latin America.

These youngsters are far more attuned to the needs of the residents of the downstairs quarter.

They thus know that it is essential to liberate them from the destructive effects of paternalism and patronage by means of planting the seeds of entrepreneurship.

Being digitally born they also understand the value of training.

Most have also been part of an educational experience in the U.S. that stretches from summer camps to PHD programs.

Through them they came to learn that progress lies in the heart of the people who are the only source of wealth creation.

Interestingly enough this is a similar conclusion to that drawn many centuries ago by Alexis de Tocqueville:

"Americans are taught from birth that they must overcome life's woes and impediments on their own. Social authority makes them mistrustful and anxious, and they rely upon its power only when they cannot do without it. This first becomes apparent in the schools, where children play by their own rules and punish infractions they define themselves. One encounters the same spirit in all aspects of social life. An obstruction blocks a public road, interrupting the flow of traffic. The neighbors immediately set up a deliberative body. Out of this improvised assembly comes an executive power that will remedy the ill before it occurs to anyone to appeal to an authority."

In short, the new generation's leadership task entails moving the Latin Americans from the downstairs to the upstairs quarters.



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.



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

Beatrice Rangel: Rio -- Demystifying the Olympic Games

Beatrice Rangel: The Luddite Syndrome in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Venezuela's Unexpected Transition

Beatrice Rangel: We Now Have a Wider Canal But Has Our Wisdom Expanded???

Beatrice Rangel: From Brexit to Tesla, Progress is Made by Leaders!!!

Beatrice Rangel: As the World Goes Latin, Latin America Gets Logical

Beatrice Rangel: On the Difficulties of Fighting Barbarism in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Impending Age of Housekeeping!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: What Happened to All Those Rosy Forecasts for Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On Dialogue and the Rules of Geopolitics in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Ides of Wisdom in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Populism

Beatrice Rangel: Three Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Trump, Lula, Kirchner and the Last Tupi-Guaranis

Beatrice Rangel: Time for Departures in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: A Contrarian View on the Panama Papers

Beatrice Rangel: Brazil's Lady in Her Labyrinth

Beatrice Rangel: Back to a Divided Home!!!

Beatrice Rangel: A Historical Take-Off in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: A Skipped Journey, a Reaffirmation and a Clearing of Path in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Demise of Civility in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon

Beatrice Rangel: The Pope's Difficult Stopover in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Farewell to The “Diplomacy of Reason”

Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes

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Beatrice Rangel: When Crime Meets Glory

Beatrice Rangel: Playing Hansel and Gretel in the Americas

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Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?

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Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor

Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis

Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas

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Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

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Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

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Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash

Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air

Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

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Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

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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

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


 

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