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The Perfect Latin American Idiot


Two of the most astute commentators on Latin American affairs are Carlos Alberto Montaner and Alvaro Vargas Llosa, both of whom we are proud to carry on RealClearPolitics.  They also happen to be co-authors of "The Guide To The Perfect Latin American Idiot" (along with Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza). 

Today Montaner dissects the origins of the protests at Mar del Plata:


The devastating protest was not surprising, however. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disappearance of the Soviet Union, the Left everywhere stopped offering options for governance or serious theories about development and equity and sought refuge in protest.

The enemies of globalization explain their ideas by stoning McDonald's to smithereens. Anticapitalists hurl pies at the president of the International Monetary Fund.

Anti-Americanism has turned into ideology. The communists have exchanged Das Kapital for T-shirts with the image of Ché Guevara and choruses of brief (and badly rhymed) slogans. The Left today is nothing but circus and street violence.

But that strategy, along with the corruption and follies of many governments, has burrowed deeply, especially in Latin America, where a growing number of citizens despise democracy as a method to organize coexistence and reject the market economy as a way to create and assign wealth.

Over in The New York Times, John Tierney quotes Alvaro Vargas Llosa in his sharp column explaining why Diego Maradona, whose rise from abject poverty in Argentina to global superstar making $10 million a year in endorsement contracts from multinational corporations like Puma and Fuji only to become a socialist anti-free trader, is the epitome of the perfect Latin American idiot:

What distinguishes the Perfect Latin American Idiot is his persistence. No matter how far the continent falls behind the rest of the world, its populists cling to the same beliefs in socialism and big government, the same distrust of capitalism and free trade, the same conviction that Latin American poverty is the fault of the United States.

"Maradona embodies the wonderful possibilities of globalization, yet he does everything in his power to deny people poorer than himself to participate in that world," said one of the "Perfect Idiot" authors, Alvaro Vargas Llosa, the Peruvian journalist (and son of the novelist Mario Vargas Llosa). "Everything Maradona and Chavez stand for has been tried before. These populists are repeating the mistakes of the Mexican Revolution, of Brazil in the 30's, of Argentina in the 50's, of Peru in the 80's."

You can read more from Alvaro Vargas Llosa - which I strongly suggest you do starting with this fantastic piece taking 10 Shots at Che Guevara - in his author archive page. Equally worthwhile is time spent digging through Carlos Alberto Montaner's archive page.

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