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Latin American Publics are Skeptical About US—But Not About Democracy

President Bush’s effort to show Latin Americans that “you have a friend in the United States of America,” may be a hard sell during his five-nation tour of the region: A majority of Latin Americans view the United States unfavorably, recent multinational surveys show, and most disapprove of the Bush administration’s foreign policies.

But though the U.S. government’s image needs burnishing in Latin America, the region does not appear to embrace the radical change espoused by some anti-American nationalists. Most view themselves as political moderates and do not look very favorably on the United States’ arch-rival in the region, President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela.

Moreover, Latin American democracy appears to have strengthened in recent years. Majorities in most Latin American countries embrace democracy as the best form of government, rejecting the idea that authoritarianism might sometimes be preferable.

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