04 March 2008

People we should be free of by now

Ah. Just when we Latin Americans thought we had shaken off these kinds of governments for good, up pops Mad Hugo, and not content with subjecting us all to his rambling anti-imperialist speeches, he's now threatening to bring war back to our subcontinent.

It just doesn't get more magic-realist than this. A big faraway country run by a religious lunatic under the command of a huge military-industrial complex orders a small country, half-owned by drug-trafficking terrorists and the other half devoted to coffee and banana plantations, to serve as proxy on its War on Drugs and Terror and Marxism, and said small country sends people into another country to kill the terrorist negotiator while he's at work, possibly about to agree on the release of long-held prisoners, at which a fourth, neighbouring country, full of oil reserves and run by a populist quasi-dictator with a fetish for red shirts, feels threatened, cuts diplomatic ties, and sends ten battalions to the border.

And our intrepid Presidenta, who is very well-spoken and tries to project an image of herself as a true stateswoman and always has something to say, says nothing about the madman in the red shirt.

Mind you, this is not a matter of right or left. Latin America has had its internal struggles, even full-blown wars, but mostly we've been free of that for a long time. Since Chile, belatedly, rid itself of its murderer-in-chief in the 1990s, no major country in this part of the world has fallen under a dictatorship. Strong-fisted governments, governments where Congress and the judiciary are a joke, governments with almost no accountability, yes — but not dictatorships. It's usually only plain dictators who can plunge a whole country into armed conflict these days.

And more importantly, a consensus has slowly emerged — an agreement among all the larger countries that, whenever continental stability is threatened, everybody will step in to defuse the conflict. Like a family where the big brothers don't let the little ones hurt themselves. But then Hugo came along, a big brother on his own right, and started behaving half like a spoiled brat, half like a grown-up on drugs. An intervention is in order, perhaps?

Chavez Kirc Lula141598.jpg


  1. I guess a copy of Faust isn't to be found in the Kirchners' library.


  2. And no one says anything about the terrorist operating on either side of the borders.

    I love your rant on this subject, perfectly summarized.


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