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I was actually thinking about this the other day: It seems to me that the authoritarian influence is shifting way leftwards these days. During the Cold War, you had authoritarian governments on the right seizing power under the fear/pretext of communism. Now, withouth that threat, there really isn't anything to support said dictatorships (outside of maybe narcotrafficking in Colombia). On the other hand, leftist dictators, or leaders with such tendencies, can rally around anti-Americanism and anti-globalization. I think a good portion of Latin America is maturing democratically (see Brazil, Chile, Uruguay maybe Peru), but the danger is that all it takes is one Morales, one Chavez or maybe one Correa (not sure on him yet) to create a constituent assembly, pack the courts and rewrite the constitution. My *hope* is that Chile, Brazil and other such countries continue to do well on both the economic and political fronts and can gradually persuade countries on the edge back to the middle. Kind of a neoliberalism with more effort to redistribute wealth, improve education, health, etc. FYI - You know a lot more about Brazil then I do, and I am well aware of the "Brazil is the country of the future and always will be" mantra, but I am very optimistic about that country. I know they have problems with government spending and education such, but there are really some key factors for growth that are present: stable political system, economies of scale, sophisticated capital markets and corporations, good energy resources (ethanol, oil), etc. I was shocked by how developed most of Brazil was when I was there last year.
Randy, did you or anyone else catch the Bob Woodward interview last night on 60 minutes? Beyond comprehension. In answer to the post above, I don't think there is any outrage because as bad as President Bush has been - in his conduct of the war, gitmo, the economy, etc. - his failures really haven't yet hit the American public. People are oblivious. Apart from longer security lines in airports, here in Chicago you would have no idea that we were fighting a war halfway across the world, violating the geneva conventions, and refusing to do anything about global warming, energy dependency or current account deficits. Hell, the gas prices are even heading back down. People don't realize how fragile our prosperity is. Until its too late.
I don't know Randy - the only time I really lived in Buenos Aires was almost six years ago now, so maybe the memory has faded a little more, but I found that quite a few Argentines still made a big fuss about the Malvinas. There is still a sign at the border pass between Mendoza and Santiago that says, "Las malvinas son nuestras." Of course there are some cooler heads, but it really surprised me how people whose intelligence I respected had a very personal response to the subject. Maybe Kirchner is preparing a distraction from the double-digit inflation that is just around the corner....
So I guess it is back to politics, heh? Your commentary has been great. I watched the final with my uncle, who is Algerian. Surprisingly (or maybe not so surprisingly), he hates France and was rooting pretty heavily for Italy. He does like Zidane, to some degree, but said the head butt didn't surprise him at all.... we were only wondering what Materazzi said to him. It couldn't have been very nice.
Toggle Commented Jul 10, 2006 on That Was Even Uglier Still at Beautiful Horizons
Randy, I'm back into a regular schedule so I'll be able to read and comment more regularly now. The situation with Humala in Peru reminds me a little of Morales a couple years ago. Morales lost a couple elections, but a couple frustrating years later, is now President. I am slightly optimistic about Garcia, especially given the economic situation he is inheriting, but if that growth doesn't translate into a better life for the very impoverished majority in Peru, look for Humala to come back strong.
Toggle Commented Jun 7, 2006 on Garcia Appears to Have Won at Beautiful Horizons