As a child I left Latin America to grow up and become a "citizen of the world" in New Jersy, with NYC as the point of reference. I have not read The Nation in a while. I used to, a lot! With The Nation, I grew and expanded my political horizons. I consider myself a liberal American and proud of it. I could never hide it, even if I tried. Nevertheless, my Latino identity allows me to see your work in a different light.
It is amazing how the left in America Has not really change in twenty years.
Mr. Wilkinson does a great scholarly job here, but he still presents Latin countries as backward. Reading this well-researched article I could not help but see similarities with the United States. Take away immigration waves, participation in European wars, the industrialization phases, Catholic culture, the Spanish language subjunctive, and in terms of democracy, Latin America is not that different from the United States. Many of these countries have a commander-in-chief, presidential powers, a growing difference among the rich and poor and a growing acceptance among the masses of its mixed heritage.
I said it back in the 1980s as a Rutgers student: Latinos will grow, and without wanting to do so will represent a cultural challenge to a US-America identified as an extension of Northwestern Europe.
I know you did not want this to be the impact of your article; but the tone of it leads me to believe that neither you nor other staff in your magazine are bicultural in Spanish or Latin culture. I considered myself to have integrated into NYC metropolitan culture and now in modern-day Germany. I can only say that even scholarly work needs to show empathy for the subject studied. Please take it as a suggestion.
You should cite more Latin American authors and re-examine the ample history of Latin America you already know, with an in situ perspective. Maybe you should consult that Chávez-opposition and definitely Chávez assistants, specially those in the culture ministry.
How about having among your staff people of mixed background, bicultural or the like? I meet Anglo-Saxon Americans in Europe, all the time and it is amazing to see how little some pursuit integration or identification with European values. These definitely should not be in your staff for European issues!
Latin America deserves respect for having tried to set up democracies at the beginning of the 19th century ( in paper, most are, as is the US, no?), its mixed population, and should also be seen as part of the western-world. Democracy doesn´t mean wealth and wealth doesn´t mean democracy.
Mar 12 2008 - 11:23am