A few years ago, most of the Latin American countries followed an import substitution strategy (Garay, L. J., 1998) that sought the protection of the industry inwards. After the Consensus of Washington , these followed more open market policies. It resulted in a poor industrial development focused on natural resource-intensive industries. This situation coupled with the political structure of these countries, -fragmented-multiclass states - left several of them behind the global marketplace, and struggling to become competitive. Nowadays, regarding the special circumstances the region is facing -the devaluation of most LA currencies, a drop of oil prices, the US economic recovery, and the boost of Free Trade Agreements along the region- the relevance of this issue is raised once again. This article discusses some programs that governments from the region should foster to yield deep structural changes that benefit from free trade whilst promoting industrial development. ______________________
1) Gore, C. (2000) claims that the Consensus of Washington was the shift from State-led to market-oriented policies. Additionally, he underpins that after this, problems related to development were framed in that time. 2) Kohli, A. (2004) uses this term to classify developing countries that he considers are well-established because their leaders are held accountable by citizens for their bad performance or poor policies. Notwithstanding, in these countries, leaders are more worried about the political support they receive than for delivering good public policies. He also indicates that the countries are fragmented because they rely on a class alliance between Government and private sector. In these States is common to find leaders that promise more than they can deliver.