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Date Published:Oct 1, 1998
Never before in the history of Latin America have so many countries had constitutional governments, elected in free and competitive elections under effective universal suffrage, that also pursue market–based economic policies. Early in the twentieth century, many Latin American governments favored open economies, but rulers were chosen either by narrow oligarchies or by military officers. By the middle of the century, many Latin American governments were democratically chosen, but pursued statist policies that sought, as far as possible, to sever the links between their nations' economies and the world market. Thus the combination of the 1990s — an era of free politics and free markets - is truly without precedent.