Archive for the 'The Fable' Category

August 12, 2002

Banana Republics 101 part IV. Act III: Let’s have elections, and elections and uups, one more election.


 


As the year begins Victor decides that a new Constitution means new elections even for himself. Four weeks later, his former allies and co-conspirators including the Head of Intelligence, break with Victor claiming the revolution is straying from its path and corruption is rampant. Three days before the election, the Government appointed Electoral commission has to postpone the elections simply, because they are not ready. Elections are divided in two parts, one in July (President, Assembly, Governors and Mayors), and the next one in October (City Councils). Victor wins again with 60.3% of the vote, Pancho is a distant second with 37.5%, Victor is static, says he will rule for decades. His party controls 113 seats out of 165 in the Assembly. To celebrate his victory Victor decides to take a trip and visit his friends around the world. He drives around with buddy Saddam Hussein, becoming the first Head of State to visit Iraq since the Gulf War; kisses ally Gadaffi in Libya and hugs Prince Abdullah in Saudi Arabia. The second part of the elections are postponed once again when he returns. Buddy Fidel Castro visits Victor who signs an agreement to finance, at bargain rates, the sale of 53,000 barrels of oil a day to Cuba. In a surprising gesture of emotion Victor kisses Fidel (No comment). Victor’s party wins the December elections. He asks, once again, for extraordinary powers to legislate by decree.  The Supreme Court says Victor’s term will be reset to the new election giving him an extra year and half in power. It would be his best year, downhill from then on….

August 8, 2002

Banana Republics 101 part III. Act II: New Republic, also Banana-like


 


Victor was sworn in early February, which he did by calling the Constitution a dying instrument. Things did not look great that day, he named an Urban Planner as Minister of Planning, ratified a sociologist as Minister of Finance, and an octogenarian former union leader as Minister of the Interior and sprinkled the Cabinet with current and former military. He immediately asked for extraordinary power on economic matters for six months and proposed a referendum to ask the people to have elections to create a Constituent Assembly, approved by 92% of the population. In July, the people elect 121 of 131 representatives from Victor’s supporters in an unprecedented support. While a new Constitution is written Victor travels to Asia, Europe and Cuba to visit his good friend Fidel Castro. Victor enjoys himself playing baseball and bores his people with long televised speeches.  Upon his return from his first trip, the head of intelligence, shows him proof of as many as 46 cases of corruption. In December of that year the focus on politics distracts the Government from the heavy rains and on the same day that the new Constitution is approved, mud slides in the coastal areas kill an estimated 40 to 50 thousand people. Victor has to use force on looters, some people are shot. Lost in the shuffle of the new Constitution is the power vacuum left between the new Constitution takes effect and elections for representatives. Victor’s Government appoints a “Little Congress”, which has no legal, democratic or constitutional basis. Nobody nationally or internationally says much about it. Who cares about democracy when bananas are involved!!!!

August 6, 2002

Banana Republic 101 Part II: A fable in 4,5 maybe six Acts: Too many bananas or not enough republic? Act I


 


Imagine a far away country, let’s call it Little Venice, the economy is growing at a 10.5% clip after many years of little growth, but most politicians dislike the President. One night in February, four lowly colonels attempt a coup. Their plan is to establish a militaristic regime to redistribute wealth. On the first day they plan to have trials of all politicians, will eliminate the Constitution and expand their revolution to the whole Continent. Fortunately, while three of the colonels succeed with their military objectives, the fourth one, let’s call him Victor, fails when he holes up in an apparent act of cowardice.


 


Victor is the only one of the four colonels to appear on TV  that night to call on all his co-conspirators to give up the fight. All four are jailed and pardoned three years later by the new President.


 


Of the four colonels, one dies, another one, call him Pancho, becomes a Government official and later runs for Governor. Victor goes around the country calling for a people’s revolt and speaking against democracy. Suddenly, two years later, he decides to run for President. One year before the elections, the front runner is a former Miss Universe turned politician, followed by an eighty year old politician. As election time approaches, the Miss Universe drops sharply in the polls, the old politician is not doing well and a former Governor let’s call him Henri is the only threat to Victor’s chances. Two weeks before the elections, the other two candidates drop out, turning their votes to Henri. Victor wins easily with 56.2% of the vote with Henri a distant second with 39.97%. The rest don’t even count. Victor celebrates his victory as crowds gather to cheer him. Seems like a happy ending.

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