the Chilean polling firm Latinobarómetro releases a giant report on
what the Latin Americans are thinking, and every year this report
confuses the crap out of the English language press, who can’t seem to
understand why it contradicts everything they’ve ever written about the
region. The fun part comes in watching them twist some fairly
straightforward numbers into bizarre and complex algorithms to make
them line up with the worldview they helped create.
But we’re getting ahead of ourselves; that’s next weeks’ parlor
game. These numbers are hot off the press, so we have a rare
opportunity to look at them before they turn into sideshow freaks. You
can check them out for yourself if you are proficient in Spanish and Adobe Acrobat. Everyone else, join us after the jump.
of all, guess who loves “democracy” better than everyone else? Ok, it’s
actually the good people of Uruguay. But Venezuelans run a close second
in just about every democracy-hugging category, even as other countries
are showing an unnerving openness to the idea of “dictatorship” if it
gets the job done.
• Uruguayans and Venezuelans are far
more likely to say they are “satisfied” with their democracy (66% and
59% respectively) than everyone else in the region. No other
nationality hits the 50% mark.
• Venezuela ties with Argentina for second place in believing that
democracy “is the best form of government” (83% each, compared with 86%
for Uruguay at the top and 49% for Panama at the bottom).
• Responding to the weirdly-phrased “Do you trust in democracy?”
question, Venezuela and Uruguay tie for the top spot, with 77% of the
population avowing their “trust,” followed by Argentina and Bolivia
(67% and 63%). Peru and Panama have some trust issues, with 39% and
If Venezuelans are content with
their democratic system, they are downright ecstatic over the state of
their economy—which, for the record, is “socialist.” Ok, it probably
helps to have oil, but:
• 52% of Venezuelans say they are satisfied with the
country’s “recent economic condition,” which may sound a little weak
until you read that the second slot is a three-way tie between Brazil,
Ecuador, and the Dominican republic for 26%, or exactly half that
• Venezuelans are far more hopeful about their future economic
sitch, with 60% believing it will get even better in the year ahead,
compared with second place Uruguay (37%), ninth place Colombia (31%)
fifteenth place Colombia (24%) and last place Paraguay (16%).
Wait sorry, did I say that Venezuelans gushed hardest about the state
of their economy? I meant to say “their government in general.” Here
are some stats that will obviously never see print outside of this blog
When asked whether their government works for the well-being of the
people, Venezuelans top the list with 70%, followed by Uruguay (67%),
Bolivia (64%) and Nicaragua (63%). Most Central American countries pull
up the rear. Oh and of course Paraguay, who reports in with 24%. Poor
Paraguay : (
• Asked if they “trust their government,” Venezuelans head the
pack, with 66% trust ranking. Compare this with Colombians (41%),
Brazilians (35%), Peruvians (22%) and—and I totally hate to pick on
them—Paraguayans, with a sad little 15%.
• Asked if they trust their President in particular, Venezuelans
come in second to Uruguay (61% vs. 60%). I won’t even mention who hates
their president most, but it rhymes with “Laraguay,” at 13%. Double : (
no? Even better: you can play along at home! Just file these numbers
away in your head, and like a demented game of Telephone, see if you
recognize them when the come back at you in your local newspaper later
this week. Be sure to send the most outlandish sightings to BoRevNet
(at) Gmail (dot) Com.