So much recent media attention on Latin America has focused on the political crisis and economic catastrophe in Venezuela — and with good reason. Here’s a country in which a ruling party that once won elections fairly has stripped parliament of power in response to opposition victories, stacked courts with political loyalists, and eliminated virtually all independent media. Opposition groups exert pressure on government only in the streets. Political violence has claimed hundreds of lives. An economy deeply dependent on faltering oil exports, distorted by ill-conceived policy gimmicks over many years, has produced shortages of the most basic consumer products, including food and water. Refugees have fled in their thousands into neighbouring countries. Reports of a failed coup attempt in May involving officers from all four branches of Venezuela’s military came as no surprise. Yet, though the challenges facing other major countries in the region are not as severe as in Venezuela, it’...

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