Courtesy Reuters

The Second Latin American Revolution

Latin America embraces a number of different realities within a common course. At least four of them can be easily identified, even though their lines of demarcation are not clearly defined. Thus, the four major units appear to be (1) Brazil, a world in itself; (2) Mexico and Central America, which to a man from the deep South seem, at times, more remote than Europe; (3) the Andean world; and (4) Argentina. Moreover, within this broad division there are subtle questions, such as whether Venezuela does not in fact have closer ties to the Caribbean than to the Andean world. Chile's Pacific location must be measured against its visceral union with Argentina at the southern tip of the continent. The remnants of ancient civilizations and the existence of large Indian populations profoundly alter the personalities of Peru, Bolivia and Mexico. Yet, despite these differences, Latin America shares common phenomena that go beyond its origins, geography and self-expression, and reach its innermost structure.

As part of the New World, it is "notoriously young." Older civilizations have solid values to uphold and a well-entrenched status quo that makes them shun adventure and change; age has made them cautious, and they protect accumulated treasures. By contrast, young nations are visionary, unstable and passionate, and-free from ties with the past and without solid roots-they seek to find in actuality what they have read in books and thus are not always rational in their reactions.

To this innate instability must be added the fact that this is a continent of paradoxes. Modern cities a stone's throw away from feudal estates, advanced universities in a sea of illiteracy, lack of opportunity for large segments of the young, extremes of wealth and poverty, refined habits coexisting with primitive forms of life, automation in the midst of unemployment or underemployment, democratic forms of government side-by- side with others lacking true organization, social mobility and representation.

Common as the above features are to less developed nations, it would be a serious mistake to classify

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