Archive for June 5th, 2006

Chavez’ Government expresses desire to control Internet at OAS meeting

June 5, 2006


The Miami Herald is
reporting
that in the draft of the final resolution of the OAS meeting in Dominican Republic, Venezuela indicated that the
Internet was a “valuable contribution” it “lamented” that it could be used to
promote negative stereotypes of individuals and vulnerable groups. I guess they
mean Chavez and his movement and us bloggers in reverse order.

As to
calling the Internet just a “valuable contribution”, this shows what the
revolution thinks of technology, the Internet is a bigger revolution than Chavez’,
but they find the lack of control counter to Chavez’ autocratic style. They
would love to control people like me that tell you the truth and their lies,
but, for now, they simply can’t….Hopefully, this will remain that way.

We will
keep an eye for more information on the details of Venezuela’s position.

Leading opposition candidates reach agreement on unified candidacy

June 5, 2006


The three
leading opposition candidates in the polls Julio Borges, Teodoro Petkoff and
Manuel Rosales (who has yet to announce), announced
today
that they will find a way of choosing one of the three as a united opposition
candidate before July 31st. If they don’t, they will all participate
in the Sumate primary. They will create an independent commission to try to
find this consensus going forward. At the same time, they will integrate all
three campaign commands to create a joint proposal and a “governability” agreement
for the new Government. They said that they do not reject a primary offhand,
but would prefer a mechanism that shows there is indeed unit of purpose in
their goals.

They also
announced that they will not accept any conditions for the December election that
in any way worsens the conditions for the vote used in December 2005. This
means that the use of fingerprint machines is unacceptable. They also asked for
the CNE to consider both proposals to audit the electoral registry.

I believe
this is a positive announcement in the sense that it shows that their conversations
have indeed have been focused in leading to a consensus and unity. I still feel
that primaries would get the people excited and get them out of their doldrums,
which is badly needed at this time. At the same time, it does show a lot of
goodwill and maturity to attempt to reach that difficult decision by a consensual
mechanism, so they can spend their time showing the people what a mess this
country is in.

Peru: Between a rock and a hard place

June 5, 2006


So Peru
has made its choice. Given the possibility of picking between a leftist, militaristic,
autocratic and nationalistic populist and a leftist, populist, charismatic, incompetent
manager, they chose the latter. In some sense, they chose democracy and
stability over the lack of freedom and instability. Garcia was responsible for
pushing Peru
over the economic brink in the 80′s. He saved his party from oblivion then and
he did it again yesterday. Humala on the
other hand offered an unknown economic path and the shadow of Chaˇvez and
Morales hung over his election.

Both Garcia and Humala have many similarities to Hugo Chávez. Both are
populists who have little idea about economics and both lack a true economic
plan. Where Garcia has Chavez’ charisma and ability to mobilize crowds, Humala
has Chavez’ militaristic-nationalist and autocratic streak. Thus, the two
together would be almost be a Chavez clone, which shows that people like some of
the same features that I find so undesirable.

The main question now is whether Garcia learned anything from his first
Presidency. This will be very important in determining his success. In his
first presidency Garcia appointed a good first team to his Cabinet, who quickly
were replaced by part apparatchik and friends over time. This team was the one
that innovated time and time again on economic policy, leading to the well
known disaster in Peru’s
economy.

Can it be different this time? It is very hard to tell. While Garci­a is
likely to try to be different, there will be lots of pressure from his party
APRA to involve party people in the Government. If Garcia can limit this, he
will have a higher probability of success. In some sense, both Fujimori and Toledo were more
successful, precisely because having no political parties behind them they had
to staff the Government with professionals, which have run ministries and other
offices much more efficiently than ever before. Maybe Garcia will do like
Carlos Andres Perez did in 1989 and do a complete turnaround from his first
presidency.

In terms of the region, Garcia represents a huge counterbalance to
Chavez. Chavez is unlikely to stop picking fights with him, which in turn will
make Garcia more popular with his countrymen. This will put Humala in a tough
position, since it will force him not to participate in the controversies to keep his distance to Chavez, but
at the same time he needs to keep a high profile. Peruvians will also look towards Bolivia to
judge whether they made a mistake or not in leaning towards Garcia. The
performance of Morales will be key to a possible Humala charge in the future.
If Morales’ Government encounters problems, it will reflect badly on Humala, as
long as Garci­a is not doing even worse.

For now, Peruvians made a choice between a rock and a hard place.
Hopefully Garcia will do what is best, will surround himself with competent
people and push his country forward both economically and socially. That is all
we can hope for now.

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