on 3 July 1997
This book was originaly written in 1992. An introduction added to account for important developments in 1994 that seem to contradict the main thesis.
The book itself has 2 parts arifitially glued together. The first chapters present an excellent historiography of the last 60 years of left movements in Latin America. Parallels, connections and similarities are drawn between different groups in different times and places. All this is very informative, given the numerous references for further reading. One of the main arguments is that armed movements did not succeed in changing the politics of the region (except for a very small number of cases), that the transition to social-democracy activism is much more effective and that all of the democratically elected leftist governments failed to implement workable alternatives.
The events in southern Mexico during January 94 contradict the general trend, hence the need for the new introduction.
The last part of the book is programatic. Castaneda presents _the_ solution to the problems that plague the continent in the form of "recommendations" for the left (since the right will never do that). The program includes democratization, socially oriented government policies, regulated free-market, etc. As a whole the program is well presented and congruent. However, the apparent intent is to show how these policies are the only alternative based on the experience drawn from the first part of the book.
On the last point I find the book lacking. The connection between the different historic cases and trens and the program for the future is not clear enough. Also, some internal contradictions are pointed out but not resolved (as to how the left will be elected with a corrupt polling process, etc)