As long as we're talking Latin American politics today

This made my jaw drop:
Edwards, by contrast, sees a non-structural problem here. Bush, on this view, has basically denuded the United States of what you might call the moral capital it built up during WWII and the Cold War era. We've become, in essence, bad guys on the world stage. |Yglesias|

Here are two quick sentences from Greg Grandin that help explain why:
Latin America in particular has long been the Achilles' heel in the hard armor of U.S. virtue, and even the most triumphal of Cold War scholars have been forced into moral contortions to explain away U.S. actions that contributed to the torture and murder of hundreds of thousands of individuals. Aside from making visibly disastrous and deadly interventions in Guatemala in 1954, the Dominican Republic in 1965, Chile in 1973, and El Salvador and Nicaragua during the 1980s, the United States has lent quiet and steady financial, material, and moral support for murderous counterinsurgent terror states... |link|

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