Latin American Political Yearbook 2002
In the fifth volume of this annual series, Robert G. Breene provides a comprehensive overview, analysis, and summary of the main political and economic trends and events in various portions of Latin America. Analyzing these developments within individual nations, their respective regions, and the world at large, the yearbook offers a timely look at the relevant background and information necessary to understand the changing nature of politics in Latin America today.
A new and threatening development, the nexus of organized international Marxist-Leninist activity and Islamic terrorism, is treated at length throughout much of the volume. In the foreword, the editor notes how the rise of international terrorism associated with radical Muslim thought has formed a nexus with the resurgence of the Hemispheric Left, thus calling into question whether the international left has really been transformed into free-enterprise democrats, as many have simplistically argued. The volume discusses the roots of a left-Muslim connection in the close association between the Sandinistas in Nicaragua and the Qaddafi regime in Libya as well as the training provided by Arab terrorists to their Latin American allies. For larger, more powerful states, the picture is more ambiguous. While the present-day ideological attitudes of former Marxist states and political entities cannot be known with absolute certainty, the materials assembled here cast doubt on the validity of hopeful assumptions of democratic political behavior in the conduct of foreign affairs. One example is an important treaty between post-Soviet Russia and China. The volume also documents the rise in Castro's fortunes with the strengthening of leftist power in Venezuela and Mexico, and the neutralization of Brazil through Castro's long-standing support for the presidency of the Marxist Lula da Silva.
This is a reference volume with a point of view. Compact yet comprehensive, it is essential reading for political scientists, Latin America area specialists, and historians.
Robert G. Breene, Jr. has been a fighter pilot, an experimental test pilot, a newspaper correspondent in Central America, a professor of physics, and the owner and operator of a 600-head cattle ranch in Nevada. He is currently head of the Latin American News Service in San Antonio, Texas, from which much of this analysis was derived.