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A new democracy ranking says Cuba is no longer Latin America's most dictatorial country

Ariana Cubillos
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro

If you thought Cuba was Latin America’s most dictatorial country, you might be wrong, says a respected worldwide ranking whose new list contains some surprises.

If you’re wondering why Cuba, Venezuela, Haiti and Nicaragua send the largest number of desperate migrants to the U.S. these days, here’s one explanation:

According to the Democracy Index 2022issued this week by the Economist Intelligence Unit — part of The Economist magazine — those four countries are the most authoritarian in the western hemisphere.

But the EIU survey reports the hemisphere’s most dictatorial government now isn’t communist Cuba. It’s socialist Venezuela, under the regime of President Nicolás Maduro — whose security forces the UnitedNations has accused of crimes against humanity, and which is widely blamed for the worst humanitarian crisis in modern South American history.

It ranks 149th out of 167 countries on the EIU’s democracy scale.

The hemisphere's second worst is Nicaragua, followed by Cuba and Haiti.

Nine Latin American countries, including Mexico, rank in the global index’s bottom half.

The EIU says Latin America's most democratic countries are Uruguay, Costa Rica and Chile — whose democracies rank higher than the U.S.', which sits at No. 30.

Tim Padgett is the Americas Editor for WLRN, covering Latin America, the Caribbean and their key relationship with South Florida. Contact Tim at tpadgett@wlrnnews.org
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