From Spengler at Asia Times:
The whole article is depressing reading.Latin America presents a different malady: it has the middle class that wasn't. The raw materials boom turned into a windfall for Brazil and Argentina, and the windfall financed spectacular rates of internal credit growth (31% and 38% respectively during the past year). For the first time, Brazil's auto manufacturers produced for internal demand rather than exports, and Sao Paolo choked in traffic while the helicopters of ethanol billionaires buzzed overhead. Argentina is now effectively broke, and the government of Cristina Kirchner has expropriated the country's private pension plans to obtain cash. Its foreign credit has collapsed completely.
Brazil's central bank still has formidable reserves, but the fragile political compromise that has kept a nominally leftist government in power cannot hold under present circumstances. Brazil's enormous underclass is ruled by drug gangs that are better armed than the police. A Brazilian congressional committee was told in February 2006 that corrupt elements in the Argentine army were selling heavy weapons to the Brazilian drug mobs, including anti-tank missiles.