In the past few decades, Latin America has emerged as the world's unlikely laboratory for democracy. No other region has produced the sheer diversity of democratic configurations and permutations, including some that at times appear to undermine the very essence of democratic principles.
The region that for so many years made news due to violence and authoritarianism is now an active workshop, tinkering with and sometimes transforming the shape of democracy.
Latin America became the stage for the rise of iconic figures such as former Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, to name just two of the powerful personalities who have led the region’s political experimentation. Both were democratically elected and committed to social change, but each had a sharply different approach to addressing their country's problems.