Latin America’s Moment

NEW YORK – Much of the world’s attention is understandably focused on developments in the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. These regions represent the vast majority of global population and wealth, their geopolitics are the most stressful (and highly consequential), and in recent decades – if not centuries – they have accounted for most of what has constituted world history.

But an unintended consequence of this focus is that many governments, corporations, and people are missing much of what is going on in Latin America. And much of what is going on in Latin America right now happens to be good.

This may not seem obvious. Brazil, the region’s largest country, is in the middle of a severe political crisis; the incumbent president, Dilma Rousseff, may well be on trial while the Olympics are being staged in her country later this summer. Meanwhile, the economy shrank by nearly 4% in 2015 and is projected to contract by a similar margin this year. The impact of the Zika virus on public health is greater in Brazil than anywhere else. Corruption is endemic and has compromised nearly everyone in public life.

But what is also extraordinary about Brazil is that all of this has thus far taken place without violence. Just as important, the political process is being conducted according to constitutional requirements and led by judges acting independently. Media of every sort are covering what is going on with great intensity. The ability to self-correct is essential for any country, and having it may be what saves Brazil from past mistakes and mismanagement.