When Venezuelan Pres Hugo Chavez, de Facto flag bearer for Latin American leftists, and Colombian Pres Alvaro Uribe, until recently the region's only right-wing leader, engaged in a shouting match at February's Group of Rio summit in Cancun, it may have been a metaphor for a larger political trend. Many analysts argue the swing back to the right could take a different form, particularly as voters may still want to retain some of the populist measures to which they have grown accustomed. The swing back to the right increasingly leaves Chavez isolated from his neighbors, while Venezuelas economic downturn could become problematic for Chavez in September's legislative elections and in the December 2012 presidential race. Recent rightist victories in neighboring countries will mean that Chavez's regional economic integration plan, known as ALBA, is unlikely to make much progress.
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