A protester holds a burning flag at a rally against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, June 2017
Carlos Garcia Rawlins / REUTERS

Consider two Latin American countries. The first is one of the region’s oldest and strongest democracies. It boasts a stronger social safety net than any of its neighbors and is making progress on its promise to deliver free health care and higher education to all its citizens. It is a model of social mobility and a magnet for immigrants from across Latin America and Europe. The press is free, and the political system is open; opposing parties compete fiercely in elections and regularly alternate power peacefully. It sidestepped the wave of military juntas that mired some Latin American countries in dictatorship. Thanks to a long political alliance and deep trade and investment ties with the United States, it serves as the Latin American headquarters for a slew of multinational corporations. It has the best infrastructure in South America. It is still unmistakably a developing country, with its share of

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  • MOISÉS NAÍM is a Distinguished Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Chief International Columnist for El País, and a Contributing Editor at The Atlantic.
  • FRANCISCO TORO is Chief Content Officer at the Group of Fifty, Founder of Caracas Chronicles, and a Global Opinion Columnist at The Washington Post.
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