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The Guardian view on Latin America’s left leaders: pink tide could lift all boats | Editorial

The region’s politicians need a different model to deal with social unrest and political instability

Football and national identity in Argentina fused after the Albiceleste won the World Cup in 1986 with Diego Maradona. The country’s democracy, recently restored after decades of coups and murderous army rule, celebrated Maradona’s rise from a shantytown to almost single-handedly defeating the rest of the world. The burst of countrywide pride, however, belied Argentina’s fall: it began the 20th century as the seventh richest nation in the world, but had dropped to the 70th place by 1990.

Decades later, it’s much the same story. In the year that Maradona led his nation to the title, inflation averaged 116%. Annual inflation today is approaching 100%. Between Maradona and the World Cup-winning team led by Lionel Messi this year, the country has defaulted on its foreign debt three times, has had two national currencies, and received, in 2018, the biggest-ever International Monetary Fund bailout.

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