A few points in response to many comments on the important subject of the movement left in Latin American governments.
As the statistics provided by someone indicates, Cuba has done very badly since Castro took over. My favorite comparison is between Cuba and Taiwan. These two islands had about equal per capita incomes in 1960 and some similarity in exports. Yet now Taiwan's per capita income is many times that of Cuba's.
A couple of you attributed that to the economic isolation of Cuba by the United States. That may have hurt Cuba somewhat, but for many years it was offset by very generous support from the Soviet Union. Of course, Cuba is not an isolated example-no communist country performed well, either in its economy or in the freedoms of its people.
Let me add that have opposed the American boycott of Cuba. It provides an excuse to supporters of Castro for the economic failures. It is also a bad policy because boycotts are not very successful, and to the extent this one has succeeded, it has hurt the Cuban people.
On Venezuela, of course its GDP is doing well with the very high price of oil-so is the Russian economy, Saudi Arabia's, the Iranian economy, etc. The test will be how Venezuela does when the price of oil falls. I predict that it will do very badly indeed.
I oppose American interference in the crops that can be grown in Bolivia or anywhere else- as I explained in an earlier post on the war on drugs. But that is not the major cause of the problems in the Bolivian economy.
Someone asked about whether any countries in the region introduced significant reforms in their economies. I would mention not only Chile, but also Mexico and Brazil, two very important nations, as well as various Central American economies, and a few others. Most of the reforms have not gone far enough, and the reforms were not always efficiently done, but there were major reforms. The substantial but far from complete reforms in Brazil in my judgment explains why Lula has followed rather market oriented and "conservative" policies.