The Threat–Again–of Left-Wing Latin American Democracy

You can count on U.S. corporate media to express alarm about the threat posed by left-wing governments in Latin America. Sometimes it’s military hype (think Soviet MiGs in Nicaragua), but more typically it takes the form of a generalized concern about certain governments’ commitment to democratic ideals. But how do you sound the alarm about left-wing threats to democracy when actual elected left-wing leaders are being removed in anti-democratic coups? That’s no easy feat, but some reporters are up to the challenge. In the Washington Post on July 22 (under the headline “Latin America’s New Authoritarians”), reporter Juan Forero explains […]


For Newsweek’s Latin America Correspondent, It’s the Stocks That Count

Newsweek’s right-wing Latin American correspondent Mac Margolis (7/2/10) is once again playing games with statistics. After the obligatory attack on Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez as a “chest-thumping autocrat,” Margolis gets down to the business of praising his favorite Latin American country, Colombia, as a country that deserves “lead billing” among the “new stars of the emerging markets”: In the past eight years, the Andean nation has gone from dud to dynamo: foreign investment has risen 250percent. Its stock index is up 15percent this year, and 35percent (versus Brazil’s 14percent) over the decade. Since Margolis makes the comparison between Colombia and Brazil, […]


Mac Margolis and Chavez’s Twitter Repression

Seeing this headline at the Newsweek website– “Chavez Twists Twitter Into Tool of Repression“– means you’re likely to read the latest dispatch from the magazine’s Latin America correspondent Mac Margolis, who has amassed a stunning record of creating panic about the region’s leftist leaders. (See “Newsweekâ┚¬Ã¢”ž¢s Name-Calling Neoliberal,” from Extra!‘s January 2010 issue.) Margolis argues that when Iranian protesters used Twitter to criticize their government, it was seen as a “tool of revolution and freedom.” Not so in Venezuela, though, where Chavez “hasfigured out how to twist this tool into one of repression.” “Far from embracing the democratic spirit of […]


Newsweek’s Mac Margolis Misleads on Who the World’s Arms Merchant Is

Mac Margolis, Newsweek‘s right-wing Latin America correspondent (Extra!, 1/10), has a small piece in the latest issue (3/1/10) that misleads in a big way. Under the headline “A Killer Deal for Russia,” Margolis declares: Russia’s campaign to balance U.S. power and prestige around the globe has found a new and willing partner–Latin America–and Washington may be the unwitting facilitator…. Moscow is cutting deals across the region, selling the latest hardware, from rifles to fighter jets, in exchange for influence and access to the area’s plentiful oil and gas reserves. And the United States has only itself and its pesky ethics […]


Wishful Thinking on Latin America Trumps Logic at Newsweek

Mac Margolis, who wrote recently about the “selective zeal for democracy” of those who condemned the Honduran coup, wrote another little piece on Latin America for Newsweek this week: “Latin America Rights Itself” (print only). He argues that “the region now looks on the brink of a rightward shift,” pointing to upcoming elections in Chile, Brazil and Uruguay in which the more liberal incumbent party is projected to lose, contrasting that with the great popularity of Colombia’s president Uribe, “who enraged the left by befriending the Bush administration.” Margolis suggests that “pragmatism is trumping charisma” and concludes: “Castigating the gringo […]