Every year, 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.
First 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.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:
• 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 34%, respectively.
• 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 figure.
• 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 posting:
• 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 : (Fascinating, 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.
• 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 : (