Why did Hugo Chávez win last October’s presidential election so resoundingly? One simple answer is that he spent his way to re-election. In the run-up to the vote, government spending increased by a whopping 25 per cent, and that’s in real terms. No wonder Venezuela is now suffering from a yawning fiscal deficit and has just devalued.
But what about the rest of the region? After so many decades of populist-fuelled booms and busts, has it finally brought the political-cycle to heel? Beyondbrics wrapped a cold towel around its head and examined the statistics. Not every country passed.