How Exceptional is Venezuela, really?

For Jorge Castañeda, nothing that's been happening in Venezuela is the least bit anomalous from a regional point of view.

My tendency is to see Venezuela as such an extreme outlier in the region – in terms of the scale of mismanagement and sheer state criminality – that lumping it together with other countries in the region makes little sense. So it’s interesting to read Jorge Castañeda, the noted Mexican academic, breezily interpret our history as a fairly typical part of a region-wide trend. 

The Latin American left has had a miserable few months. In ArgentinaVenezuela and Bolivia, it was decisively defeated in three different kinds of elections. The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, most likely seeing the trends around him, decided to abandon his attempts to remain in power. In Chile, corruption scandals are tightening around previously respected leaders. Most recently, the web of graft has caught one of the most revered figures among Latin America’s 21st-century leftists: the former president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.

The “pink tide” is ebbing. Why has this happened now? And what can the left learn as it recedes from power?

Read it all.