Time is on their side. Or not. It depends a lot on who you expect to be voting for in the next round of elections across Latin America's biggest economies.
In Brazil, a great early start could wither before Lula can convert for another term. He has a lot of work to do to make sure his tremendous good fortune--hot exports and the trust of foreign creditors, for now--seals the deal in 2006. That means not just continued success, but jobs. Mexico's Vicente Fox has the opposite problem. He has too much time before elections come around, two years out as well, and no clear path to getting anything past a prickly Congress. Doing nothing will cost the country a lot.
In Argentina, meanwhile, the government is dancing a line between turning back the clock to state-run industry or encouraging its budding entrepreneurs. Whether Nestor Kirchner can turn a weak currency and hardworking, internationally aware business leaders into success may depend on his just getting out of the way.
Of course, the big headache, for Brazil and many countries across the region, is getting those in-demand...