December 11, 2012
By Arturo C. Porzecanski
Latin America and the Caribbean encompass a heterogeneous region. Gross domestic product per capita adjusted for purchasing power ranges from a rockbottom $1,300 per annum in historically mismanaged Haiti to well over $20,000 in the stable and competently administered Caribbean islands of Bahamas and Barbados. The weighted average for the region is $12,300, about one-fourth the level in the United States and 30 percent of that in Canada.
Other vital statistics likewise confirm a very scattered picture in terms of economic achievement and potential. While nations like Bolivia, Ecuador, Haiti, and Venezuela rank toward the bottom of the World Bank’s global index on Ease of Doing Business, they also score
very poorly in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, as well as in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom. At the same time, countries like The Bahamas, Barbados, Chile, and Peru rank relatively high in those same worldwide comparisons. In terms of ideological proclivities, commitment to participatory democracy, and respect for human rights, including property rights, the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean also span a very wide spectrum.
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