is in my opinion the best thing ever written on politics in Latin America. He based the fictional Costaguana mainly off his experiences in Venezuela, and since his time very little has changed. The general patterns--the small, enterprising European elite, the indolent traditional land-owners, the rapacious, corrupt officials scheming revolution and riling up the countryside bandits, city rabble, and refuse that accumulates in the ports, the downtrodden natives, the great "man of the people" that rises--all of these characters keep existing and they form a drama that keeps repeating almost the same way in every generation.
Kaplan takes a slightly different approach, trying to show in general that literature is often more useful for studying politics than journalism or political science, with which I agree, and which may be especially true in our time when no one wants to talk about uncomfortable truths except maybe in fiction or figuratively. He also extends Conrad's insights to the Third World in general. It's generally an interesting article,