The latest from Venezuela is that Chavez to shut down opposition TV
The Devil’s Excrement compares Latin America to Asia:
The problem is regional. Most countries in Latin America, with the relative exceptions of Brazil and Chile, continue to be focused on commodities and some basic products derived from them.
Asia has been going the other way, looking for the growth needed to improve the life of their populations, China, India, Korea, Malaysia and other countries in the region have bent over to attract foreign investment and create friendly atmospheres for them. Some like India had excellent educational systems in place. Others decided to invest not only in education, but in high quality education at all levels and staring from the bottom.
Alek Boyd is closing up VCrisis,
I once felt that my dignity was being trampled upon. I once believed that by exposing the vices and double discourse of chavismo I was doing my bit for my country. No more. Most of my countrymen, on both sides of the divide, think otherwise and behave accordingly. Chavismo is but a manifestation of Venezolanismo and its time has come. The country has changed for good, those who were in the back of the list are now in power and with a fresh mandate. Whatever comes after depends on them, in the meanwhile many folks around are having the time of their lives.
I had a very interesting conversation after the Venezuelan election with Miguel, Alek and Daniel, in which Daniel said that he had predicted that Chavez would win, but not even the Chavistas were predicting the 20 point lead. In today’s WSj, Mary Anastasia O’Grady’s article, The Populist Persuasion explores Venezuelan and Latin American politics:
To make a proper analysis of the political scene at the start of 2007, let’s first dispel the myth that Latin Americans rushed to embrace Marxist revolution at the polls in 2006. There were hard-left “victories” in Venezuela and Bolivia but neither of those elections qualify as democratic. The Venezuelan contest was riddled with irregularities, including and unaudited voter registry, and Chavez-controlled judiciary and electoral council, and the incumbent’s use of state oil revenues in the campaign. It is impossible to divine voter preferences in that race.
(You can listen to my Pajamas Media podcast with Daniel for a detailed explanation of the labyrinthine Venezuelan electoral process.)
O’Grady’s article contains one object lesson for the USA:
But there’s another reason, too, I think, that Latin America cannot seem to get out of the spin cycle of populism. And that is the intellectual impoverishment the region suffered in the second half of the 20th century, when the state got control of academia and the liberal debate about what constitutes a free society was silenced. The observation of Venezuelan-born journalist Carlos Ball in this column on Jan. 5, 2001 – that after 40 years of far-left control of “the schools, the univerisities and arts” in Venezuela “the general public [had] fallen under a well-organized system of leftist indoctrination” – applies to the vast majority of Latin nations.
O’Grady ends her article by explaining,
Defeating chavismo is as much about refuting an ideology that rejects individual liberty as it is about containing a military threat. This requires a challenge to the populist paradigm that now pervades Latin political thought. It is an achievable goal but one that, as Mr. Ayau can attest after years of hard work, won’t come easy. Until we get such an intellectual breakthrough, expect persistent instability and lots of Latin emigrants, with or without Chavez.
It doesn’t take a psychic to forecast that 2007 will bring more of the same.
Update … meanwhile, in London …