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Latin America’s Glossed Decade

SANTIAGO – The Inter-American Development Bank declared last July that this would be “Latin America’s Decade.” A couple of months later, The Economist endorsed that idea, which has since been repeated by countless apologists and experts.

There is nothing like a little economic growth to get pundits’ juices flowing. And Latin America is growing, by 6% last year and an estimated 4.75% in 2011, according to the International Monetary Fund. Compared with the region’s mostly sluggish performance over the last three decades, this looks like takeoff velocity. And, compared to the dismal recent record in North America and Europe, it looks positively supersonic. Latin America’s stock markets are up sharply since the crisis, as are property prices in those few countries that keep track of house values. No wonder so many are so excited.