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  HOME | Opinion (Click here for more)

Beatrice Rangel: Time for Departures in the Americas

By Beatrice E. Rangel

Spring is the season for new beginnings. Sunshine and life predominate on earth while people relaunch their projects dreams and aspirations.

It is a time of plans and projects according to Tolstoy.

It is also the time to shed skin, cocoons, coatings and crusts representing old ideas, behaviors and demeanors.

It is the time for the past to give way to the present.

The invisible hand of history impeccably staged the spring rite in the Americas as two departures took center stage.

First was the Castros' farewell at the Communist Party Congress of Cuba. The next Cuban congress will most probably proceed without the presence of a leadership that succeeded at turning history back in our hemisphere.

Then there was Patricio Aylwin's passage to immortality which has prompted his fellow countrymen to give weight to the transcendental contribution he made to the rejuvenation of Chilean democracy.

Interestingly enough, Cuba and Chile's development histories depart from different points and march down opposite roads.

The first anomaly among them was development.

As the Caribbean gateway, Cuba enjoyed the best of trade flows from the 16th century onwards. This had turned its society into a learned nation capable of producing primary school text books for the rest of Latin America during the better part of the 20th century.

Chile, on its turn was considered to be "a poor and dangerous" place from the 17th century until the 18th century. Reforms to open its economy to free trade and extensive exploitation of salt and nitrates and later of copper and other metals progressively led the economy into abundance.

Today Cuba and Chile have reached opposite development destinations. Cuba is bankrupt. Chile is prosperous. The difference being the quality of their respective political leadership.

In Cuba, we have seen an ideologue regime led by two brothers who completely ignore the workings of economics while mastering every aspect of power control. This has led to the impoverishment of the society as a whole and the assassination of freedom.

In Chile, the denial of freedom brought about by political crisis led its leadership to build a strong democracy with separation of powers and above all based on the rule of law. This explains the so called "Chilean Miracle" which has led the country to triple its income per capita in 25 years and to reduce poverty by 30% over the same time period.

Patricio Aylwin's greatest concern while at the helm of Chile was to leave the pillars of rule of law solidly planted.

In consequence, he created a commission to record the abuses committed during General Augusto Pinochet's dictatorship so that, as democracy advanced, this report could serve the purpose of establishing the institutional framework to support its vitality and long life. He chose not to confront General Pinochet who was still Army Commander, as he understood that conflict could impair the development of democratic institutions which were essential to the country's project.

When a Spanish judge succeeded in charging General Pinochet for his human rights abuses, Patricio Aylwin was among those supporting his country's request to bring him back home to be judged in Chile. And while many of those standings were highly criticized when he was Chile's head of state, time has shown the wisdom of his judgement that was driven towards creating and preserving the architecture for freedom.

In contrast, the Castro brothers' affair with power has been all but creative.

Conceiving power as the method through which their leadership would overcome destroyed the already faulty institutional framework of Cuba. It was replaced by their volition.

The heretofore most prosperous economy in the Caribbean, where workers ranked eighth in the world in terms of compensation, slowly collapsed into a ramshackle economic system unable to feed its people.

Through a masterful play of geopolitics, the Cuban leaders managed to become the world's leading subsidized economy. The Soviet Union and then Venezuela playing the role of the supporter.

After over half a century, the Cuban leaders have little to show except for a massive exodus of its people to the U.S. who were escaping their ruthlessness and now are key to returning Cuba to its Caribbean gateway status. Chileans, on the contrary have vanquished French wines and Scottish salmon all over the world and are about to become leaders in mining.

Beatrice Rangel is President & CEO of the AMLA Consulting Group, which provides growth and partnership opportunities in US and Hispanic markets. AMLA identifies the best potential partner for businesses which are eager to exploit the growing buying power of the US Hispanic market and for US Corporations seeking to find investment partners in Latin America. Previously, she was Chief of Staff for Venezuela President Carlos Andres Perez as well as Chief Strategist for the Cisneros Group of Companies.

For her work throughout Latin America, Rangel has been honored with the Order of Merit of May from Argentina, the Condor of the Andes Order from Bolivia, the Bernardo O'Higgins Order by Chile, the Order of Boyaca from Colombia, and the National Order of Jose Matías Delgado from El Salvador.

You can follow her on twitter @BEPA2009 or contact her directly at BRangel@amlaconsulting.com.

Also by Beatrice Rangel in her Latin America from 35,000 Feet series

Beatrice Rangel: A Skipped Journey, a Reaffirmation and a Clearing of Path in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Demise of Civility in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Americas from Boutros Boutros-Ghali to Ban Ki Moon

Beatrice Rangel: The Pope's Difficult Stopover in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Farewell to The “Diplomacy of Reason”

Beatrice Rangel: 2 Diseases in Latin America -- Different Prescriptions, Very Different Outcomes

Beatrice Rangel: On Health Alerts and the Long Arm of Justice in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: When Crime Meets Glory

Beatrice Rangel: Playing Hansel and Gretel in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Good News/Bad News Starts The Monkey Leap Year

Beatrice Rangel: The Gifts of Christmas!!!!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Crying Wolf in Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: A 21st Century Tale of Two Cities

Beatrice Rangel: Are the Americas Ready for President Trump?

Beatrice Rangel: On Predictions of War & Global Confusion

Beatrice Rangel: Paris and the Return of Fear

Beatrice Rangel: Marijuana & Latin America's Next Trade Corridor

Beatrice Rangel: Of Burning Airplanes & Argentinean Tsunamis

Beatrice Rangel: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: Buena Vista's Magic Covers the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Pride and Perjury in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Trompe L’oeils Proliferate in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: The Economic Consequences of Peace in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Colombia, the FARC & the Makings of Gangland in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: When Extreme Weather Meets Extreme Politics Calamities are Bound to Happen

Beatrice Rangel: When Ladies Hit 70

Beatrice Rangel: About Uninformed Elites and Gullible Leaders

Beatrice Rangel: On US-Engineered Soft Landings in Cuba and Venezuela

Beatrice Rangel: On the Many Ways Cecil Matters

Beatrice Rangel: Blue Moons Lead to Extraordinary Happenings in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: On Why Embassy Openings Do Not Necessarily Herald Different Policies

Beatrice Rangel: When Jupiter meets Venus

Beatrice Rangel: When Markets and Manners Crash

Beatrice Rangel: From Grexit to Exit, Contagion is in the Air

Beatrice Rangel: An Infuriated God & An Environmental Crusader Mark the Summer Solstice

Beatrice Rangel: Between Ionesco & the Falklands Syndrome

Beatrice Rangel: The Ugly Americas

Beatrice Rangel: How FIFA Corrupted the Beautiful Game in the Americas and World

Beatrice Rangel: Could the US RICO Act Be Applied to Latin America?

Beatrice Rangel: On the Discreet Charm of Commodities for Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The End of the Chinese Free Lunch in the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: The Crooked Twig of Democracy in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Of a White Knight for Three Latin American Ladies in Distress

Beatrice Rangel: Withdrawal Symptoms?

Beatrice Rangel: The Un-Mannered Summit

Beatrice Rangel: Easter Miracles in Latin America and the World

Beatrice Rangel: Two Islands, Two Legacies & One Challenge - Modernity

Beatrice Rangel: Killing Me Softly -- the Obama Administration’s Legacy in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Upcoming Dynasties and Exhausted Ideas in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Of Thunderous Silences, Quiet Noises and Flash Backs in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: Latin America's Dangerous Exports to Europe & the Demise of an Old Fox

Beatrice Rangel: Of Sweet Deals, Sugar Daddies, Direct Mail & Obama’s Care

Beatrice Rangel: Of Latin American Singing Birds, Femme Fatales & Empty Shelves

Beatrice Rangel: When Flying Dragons & Rage Infusions Turn Against Their Latin American Masters

Beatrice Rangel: Holy Haberdashery!!! Is Fire Building Under the Surface in the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: 2015 -- A Year for Balance in the Americas???

Beatrice Rangel: Pope Francis Looks at the Americas In His Christmas Remarks

Beatrice Rangel: The Paint Brush Hanging from the Wall in Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: A Future for the Americas??

Beatrice Rangel: Going Forward, Going Backward -- It's the Americas!!

Beatrice Rangel: An Eerily Familiar Week in the Americas

Beatrice Rangel: Tale of Two Walls

Beatrice Rangel: Across the Americas, We the PEOPLE

Beatrice Rangel: Across Latin America, The Populist Beat Goes On!!

Beatrice Rangel: Oh My, The Patron of the Eternal Feminine Has Left Us!!!

Beatrice Rangel: Communism from China to Cuba Finds Corruption!!!

Beatrice Rangel: From Rio to Hong Kong Discontent Taps the East to Find a New Way

Beatrice Rangel: Will Latin America Miss the Broadband Development Target?

Beatrice Rangel: Kissinger’s World Order and Latin America

Beatrice Rangel: The Third Attempt -- Will Modernity Prevail in Latin America?

Rangel: While US is Away, Latin America Rethinks Development Paths

Rangel: In the Midst of Riots, a Star is Born in Brazil

Rangel: In Mexico Cinderella Gets to the Ball while Colombia Gets a Chance at Peace


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