This timely book explores the unique challenges facing the left in Latin America today. The contributors offer clear and comprehensive assessments of the difficult conditions and conflicting forces that have brought to power the current leftist regimes in Latin American and the Caribbean and are shaping their development. Avoiding the widely accepted but simplistic dichotomy of "good" and "bad" left or democratic and antidemocratic left, the book first sets the theoretical and historical context for understanding the rise of the left in the region. It then provides case studies of the radical left in power in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador and its influence in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Cuba. Thematic chapters consider social and labor movements and debates over problems arising from the democratic transition to socialism. The book points to concrete circumstances in which theoretical issues related to reform and change have played out in nations where the left is in power. These include prioritization of social over economic objectives, the role of the state in the democratic road to socialism, and ecological as opposed to developmentalist strategies. Finally, the book examines the opposition to radical governments in power coming not only from the right but also from movements to their left. With its balanced and thorough assessment, this study will provide readers with a deep and nuanced understanding of the complexity of the political, economic, and sociocultural reality of contemporary Latin America and the Caribbean.
Contributions by: Marc Becker, Roger Burbach, George Ciccariello-Maher, H ctor M. Cruz-Feliciano, Steve Ellner, Federico Fuentes, Marcel Nelson, Hector Perla Jr., Camila Pi eiro Harnecker, Thomas Purcell, Diana Raby, William I. Robinson, and Kevin Young.