LatAm politics

By John Paul Rathbone and Keith Fray

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.