In Latin America, the rules and institutions of the regime are similar to those more mature democratic countries, but their societies are profoundly different from those. For the first time in history, a developing region and is deeply unequal societies, are politically organized under democratic regimes. In turn, this democracy is unique, is both a democratic region and the most unequal on the planet.
A new reality without antecedents that stands on an equilateral triangle formed by three edges: democracy, poverty and inequality. The first edge of the triangle is the diffusion of democracy in the region. All countries that integrate it meet basic requirements of democracy. The second edge is poverty. In 2010, the region had 183 million people (or 33.1%) with income below the poverty line. However, compared to other major regions in the democratic world, Latin America offers the singularity of the cohabitation of political freedom with the severe material privations of many. Democracy and wealth, democracy and poverty are two combinations that generate needs, difficulties and different risks.
The third edge is inequality, Latin American societies are the most unequal in the world, as in the case of poverty, not only shows the depth of inequality in the region compared to the rest of the world, but their persistence across the last forty years.
For the first time concur the three edges, and democracy faces the challenge of its own stability coexisting with the challenges of poverty and inequality. The risks arising from this situation are different and more complex than the traditional military coup. For many Latin American citizens to achieve higher levels of development in their countries, it is an aspiration so important, that many would be willing to support an authoritarian regime, if it could give response to their welfare and to bypass the laws if there a difficult situation, that partly explain the revival of populist caudillo of the past and the inclination to the left of the political spectrum in the region.
Advances in this process of democracy and integration can only be seen with a medium or long term, the economic, social and institutional development needs occur in a slow way and is often intermittent. The end of the first decade of the century is an occasion to assess the status of these issues in Latin America as a political and economic dimension, and that is the subject of this article.