Since the early 1980s Latin America has seen a definitive shift toward civilian rule. Significant trade, fiscal and monetary reforms have accompanied these changes, exposing previously statist economies to the forces of the market. Despite the conventional notion that liberal economic reforms sprang out of necessity, as opposed to an enlightened set of policy choices, the combination of civilian regimes and market-based strategies has proved to be resilient. Economic and political hardships remain, including a debt default in Argentina and an attempted coup in Venezuela; however, the defining themes of open market and liberal politics still dominate in the region.
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