Douglas Farah explains why much of Latin America is going left: the United States has been an absentee parent.
By ignoring Latin America for six years, the United States has set the stage for a strong and perhaps irreversible (at least in the short term) trend for which we will pay a steep price-the rise of a nationalist ethos that is rapidly allying with radical Islam, at least on a tactical level. Chavez, flush with oil money, can keep several such government afloat (Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Nicaragua) at least for a while.Much of Latin America resents the United State: not for being an imperialist power, but for not paying enough attention to a corner of the globe that has been unfairly sidelined since 9/11. This has given Chavez the opportunity to fill a power vacuum foolishly vacated by the United States.
Douglas is correct that nothing can be done in the short-term, but it is an opportune time for the United States to reexamine its Latin American policy and begin, in the interim, a vigorous process of engaging the various Latin American countries on multiple fronts, especially on the war against terrorism.