In today’s WSJ (by subscription) Latin America, in the Round: Not the best of times, but not the worst of times either, by Francis Fukuyama (yes, I know, the End of History guy)
A great deal of attention has understandably been fixed in recent years on the rise ofpopulist presidents Hugo Chávez in Venezuela and Evo Morales in Bolivia. These countries are undergoing institutional decay: Mr. Chávez in particular has been busy dismantling institutions of horizontal accountability like courts, trade unions, political parties and civil society in an attempt to consolidate his own power. But there is also evidence that this virus is not spreading. In Peru’s recent presidential election, Alan García’s support increased dramatically when Mr. Chávez intervenend on behalf of his populist opponet Ollanta Humala; Manuel López Obrador was hurt by the perception that he might become a Mexican Chávez.
Mexico’s Fedral Electoral Institute and Tribunal face an important challenge in the way the handle the aftermath of this month’s razor-edge election. But while Mr. López Obrador will try to contest the election’s legitimacy, the clock has not turned back to the bad old days of the PRI. The fact that Mexico faces a problem akin to the U.S. circa 2000 is acutally a tribute to how much progress the country has made in reforming its democratic institutions. A generation ago, Latin America’s weak institutions falied to deal with the problem of rising energy prices, ultimately increasing poverty across the continent. Today’s rising energy prices pose a similar challenge, but it is my guess that the region will deal with it much more sucessfully than before.
Meanwhile, via Maria, Hugo’s making rude noises, as is his habit: Chavez: U.S. support for Israel to lead to Holocaust
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said Friday that U.S. backing of Israel is responsible for flaming tensions in the Middle East and putting the world on course toward another “Holocaust.”
“The fundamental blame falls again on the U.S. empire. It’s the empire that armed and supported the abuses of the Israeli elite, which has invaded, abused and defied the United Nations for a long time,” Chavez said in a speech during a military act in Caracas.
Hugo, a good friend and business partner of Iran, has been known to show his anti-Semitism before. The current situation affords him the chance to rant against Israel and blame the USA at the same time:
“I’ll seize this opportunity to condemn categorically and fully the aggression that the Israeli elite is carrying out against innocents over there in the Middle East,” he said.
Chavez was referring to a new explosion of Mideast violence this week as
Israel Air Force war planes began striking Lebanon after Hezbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers and killed eight others Wednesday in a cross-border raid into Israel. In response, Hezbollah has fired hundreds of rockets at northern Israel.
The Venezuelan leader charged that Israel is using excessive force.
“Are we going to bomb cities and tell them that we won’t stop bombing until they return the soldier? That’s crazy,” he said.
“Worse, it’s craziness with nuclear bombs. (The Israelis) have their weapons of mass destruction and nobody criticizes them, nobody says anything because the empire is behind them,” Chavez said.
Blaming the escalation on Washington’s undue influence, Chavez said: “The U.S. empire’s desire to dominate has no limits and that could take this world to a real Holocaust. May God save us.”
Expect more of that in the future.
For now, don’t miss Publius Pundit‘s post & round-up on Mexico’s latest.
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