The highly-respected British magazine The Economist has just released its Democracy Index for 2007, which ranks countries into four categories: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian regimes.
The Index takes into measures such as free elections, civil liberties, functioning government, political participation and political culture.
Only 28 countries make the cut as full democracies, including much of Western Europe, the US, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. Two Latin American nations are included: Costa Rica and Uruguay.
At the other end of the scale, there are 55 nations in the list of authoritarian regimes – and the only Latin American nation to feature is Cuba.
After 47 years of despotic, one-party rule, the magazine's editors say the Castro regime belongs with the likes of North Korea, Belarus, Swaziland, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
As my mother is fond of saying, Dimes con quien andas y te dire quien eres …