The news from Latin America has been mostly bad of late, with drug-fueled violence, radical populism, and, more recently, the coup in Honduras grabbing the headlines. Amid this turmoil, however, Latin America has also experienced a quieter and far more positive trend.
In countries like Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile, the region has seen the emergence of governments that are ideologically moderate, economically and socially responsible, and keen for mutually beneficial cooperation with Washington. There has been much talk recently about a "lurch to the left" in Latin America. These governments, by contrast, represent the rise of the center.
The rise of the center is best understood in the context of the ambiguous results produced by democratization and neoliberal economic reform, the two trends that dominated regional affairs from the late 1970s through the turn of the millennium. On the plus side, these reforms caused dramatic improvements in human rights and a general reduction in macroeconomic instability.