Lefty, Squinty & Sexy
The Axis of Evo just got a whole lot foxier.
The Axis of Evo just got a whole lot foxier.
Ecuador’s Sexiest President Ever has seen a rise in the country’s collective, um, poll. . .Whatever.
Just two weeks in office, Rafael Correa enjoys a remarkable 73% approval rating among the country’s notoriously fickle electorate. The opposition-controlled Congress, on the other hand, languishes with a 68% disapproval rating. And the Axis of Evo expands.
Question: Which South American president gags newspapers from reporting on corruption, jails journalists without trial, gives himself the power to rule by decree, overrides Supreme Court decisions by fiat, refers to human rights monitors as “political agitators in the service of terrorism,” and amends the Constitution to allow himself a new term?
Answer: Colombia’s Alvaro Uribe. Last week Condoleezza Rice praised Uribe’s “commitment to social, economic and judicial reform that she hoped would improve the lives of all Colombians” as the U.S. pledged an additional 3.9 billion dollars in “aid” to South America’s most repressive regime.
We here at BoRev.Net love so many things about your country. We love your Olympic champions, even though they excel in sports we’ve never heard of. We love your pop divas, even though they’re kind of skanky. We love your boobies, even though they they've got funny looking feet. But most of all, we have this inexplicable crazy-mad crush on your president.
A few days ago, President Correa suggested that he might step down if the Ecuadorian opposition is allowed to hijack the newly-formed Constitutional assembly.
"My heart is not in power, it's in service," Correa said. "If I am not going to be able to do that ... and be one more of a ton of traitors and impostors that we have had in the presidency, believe me, I would rather go home."
Just a few short hours ago we were pointing out the crazy human rights abuses of the Bush Admin’s favorite South American country, and already Uribe’s top cabinet officials are resigning. Coincidence?
But seriously, can you imagine the media orgy if this shit happened in Venezuela?
>> The equivalent of Colombia’s secretary of state is forced to resign after her brother was arrested “on charges of colluding with paramilitary leaders who are accused of killing thousands.” Not a typo: thousands.
>> The brother, a Senator, was also “possibly involved in the kidnapping of a political rival.”
>> Today’s arrest was part of a sweep of four of Uribe’s legislative cronies, in addition to the “eight pro-Uribe lawmakers” that are already in jail and one more who is “on the run.”
>> Oh, and their dad is under investigation, too.
To think we might have had some sense of what what bubbling under surface if the press hadn't been so darn busy covering Hugo Chavez's mother's poodle. I'm sure they've all learned their lesson now though...
UPDATE: To confuse the hell out of us, President Uribe just named a new Foreign Minister with the same last name as the old one. No relation, says the BBC.
Well, since there have been all those bogus comparisons to nationalization and the Mexican Revolution on the internet today, and because Swedes are sort of a running theme on this blog, I thought you might enjoy this tribute to the little-known role of Swedish revolutionaries in Pancho Villa’s army. Or something.
I’ve been doing lots of radio interviews lately, and my big fear is getting stumped by a totally random question from left field. Like, for instance, “Do you know how many hectares of corn are needed to produce one million barrels of ethanol?” But Fidel wasn’t thrown for a loop. He actually knew the answer.
Castro called in to Hugo Chavez’s “Alo Presidente” show yesterday. It was strange and fascinating, and the Beeb has the transcript.
Unfortunately it was just a letter to the editor. And it was ours. But it’s a start.
Confidential to Alek Boyd: I’ll save you the trouble. The letters editor is Josephine Flanders, and she can be reached at LettersReply (at) washpost.com. Go ahead and send them your inevitalbe commentary. In fact, they’re waiting for it. The newsroom guys tell me that your
grammar insight always makes them laugh think. Don’t disappoint 'em.
Bush’s Magical Mystery Tour stars tomorrow, and as AP photographers document, the welcome wagons are already rolling into high gear. U.S. social movements can learn a little something about “message consistency” from our neighbors to the South.
Sao Paulo, Brazil
“Get Out Bush”
“Get Out Bush, Murderer!”
Guatemala City, Guatemala
You get the picture.
Brazil’s not going to be the U.S. stooge in Latin America. Standing next to President Bush at a Sao Paulo press conference today, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called on the U.S. to respect all of Latin America’s democracies. And by “all,” he meant “Venezuela.”
Of course, so far you can only read about it in the German wires. The Associated Press and Bloomberg have already filed their stories on the press conference and somehow forgot to mention the historic smackdown.
No doubt, headline writing is a pain in the patoot. Your job is to encapsulate a complex story into snappy vernacular and not totally mislead your readers in the process. Fortunately, when you cover Hugo Chavez, the job is way easier, because there’s not all that “pressure” to capture “nuance.” Apparently, you’re not even required to accurately portray the main idea, as long as you get a little V-bashing in.
So we’re amused, not shocked, that AP’s fascinating story about corrupt local officials in Bolivia, who are hording international aid money meant to help the thousands of Bolivians suffering the affects of devastating flooding, runs under the headline “Chavez Gets a Cool Reception in Bolivia.” The “cool reception,” it turns out, comes from a few corrupt local officials, while “thousands” of locals “greeted Chavez at the airport.”
But hey, Bush is in South America, and it would be unseemly to point out that the U.S. has only pledged a tiny fraction of the aid money sent by Venezuela, or that we don’t actually care it reaches its intended recipients. Sometimes patriotism requires that we miss the point.
Update--Same story, alternate headline: "Bolivia Not Fans of Hugo Chavez." I mean, really.
I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Bush handlers think you’re all a bunch of stinking idiots. You know all those riots that greeted your president in Sao Paulo, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Bogotá and Guatemala City? Apparently, they were fake, because the Latins LOVE him.
The Bushinskis took a lame stab at a whisper campaign over the weekend, only their intended dupes weren’t playing. CNN reporter Ed Henry could barely suppress a smirk as he explained it to Lou Dobbs:
“U.S. officials are now privately charging that all of these protests are not happening spontaneously. They charge that Chavez has been paying people to show up in order to bolster the crowds and try to show up Mr. Bush.”
And CNN White House Correspondent Elaine Quijano got the same bzz bzz bzz:
“And with demonstrations taking place across Latin America, President Bush's aides privately suggest Chavez is paying people to stage some of it.”
Of Course! That totally explains it.
Health Care, Leonard Cohen, AND media accountability? If it weren’t for their little weather problem (and we hear that’s changing!) Canada would be a gawl-derned Utopia.
The Ontario Press Council just ruled that the Toronto Star, the country’s largest-circulation daily newspapers, “lacked balance” in a series of articles on Venezuela. The paper apparently parroted rumors from the Venezuelan opposition without providing opposing views. In Canadian journalism, this is apparently “a significant deficiency.” Go figure.
Note to Canada: Well done! We totally forgive you for Celine Dion, sort of.
The National Black Chamber of Commerce wants oil rich African nations to shake corruption, learn from Venezuela and send a fuck you card to the World Bank.
When you’ve lost right-wing Paraguay, you’ve lost Latin America. President Nicanor Duarte thinks Dubya is a faker with his newfound “compassion” for “poor people.” Turns out they’ve seen the Katrina videos too! And how does he feel about the BoRev?
“Venezuela has an overdose of democracy, with one election after the other. It is the only country where the Constitution provides for a (presidential recall) referendum in the middle of the presidential term.”
Looks like the Bush family will have to find a new country to retire/escape the War Crimes Tribunal.
It’s not your parents' patchouli-smelling clothing optional hippie campus, that’s for sure. As the New York Times reports today, U.C. Berkeley will let you hold an art show on Venezuela, so long as you are "concerned" about but not actually "in solidarity" with the BoRev.
How’s this for a loaded question?
“Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was recently granted authority to legislate by decree for 18 months, and he is seeking an amendment to the constitution to allow a president to be elected for a lifetime. Given his fierce rhetoric and Venezuela's oil wealth, does Chavez pose a threat to regional stability and how should his critics, including the Bush administration, respond?”
But answer they do, and most have the sense to respond with some variation of “what a stupid question.” It’s three academics, one journalist, one economist, a conservative think-tanker, and a gadfly! Fun for everyone.
If I were Rafael Correa, I don’t know how I’d get any work done. I’d spend all day staring at my enormous “approval ratings.”
Anyway, Latin America’s sexiest president just won a ginormous victory. Gallup is reporting that national referendum to rewrite the Ecuadorian constitution passed by a whopping seventy-eight percent.
Congraultations, Raf! Now go work on that tan, dude. Oh and Chavez's statment? "We all have to get behind...Correa."
I just report it.
At some point the Bush Administration has to admit that when they’ve lost Costa Rica, they’re sort of totally SOL in terms of Latin American influence. Yesterday it became the 3rd country to follow Venezuela’s lead and refuse to send troops to the Columbus, Georgia-based dead-ender terrorist training camp formerly known as the School of the Americas. Turns out, the Costa Ricans are no longer into learning the finer points of waterboarding their own populace to find out who supports universal health care.
Sure, the move seems somewhat symbolic, what with the whole “Costa Rica doesn’t have a military” thing, but still, they’d been sending select police officers to the SOA for years. Let’s just say that San Jose is the last place you want to be caught with a baggie of pot. Or a copy of “Hegemony or Survival.”
That’s what the Bushies get for backing a Nobel laureate for President, suckers! Sanctions will begin next week.
Watch out Maria Conciha Alonso. John Pilger’s new film is sure to unsettle your silicone. It opens in the U.K. this weekend, and it’s already getting favorable reviews in The Guardian (natch) and the Financial Times (really).
Rupert Murdoch’s The Times of London hates it, so you know it’s gonna be good.
Argentine First Lady Cristina Kirchner has enlisted a top-drawer set of advisers for her own presidential bid. As Bloomberg reports, she “kicked off her campaign last night before a crowd of 2,000 supporters who watched a video of her featuring U.S. Senator Hillary Clinton, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, and the Colombian pop star Shakira.”
I mean, aside from the Hillary thing, I’d totally vote for her.
The Mohawk Nation has announced their official state visit to Venezuela—with the most crypticly-awesome headline I’ve seen in a long while.
Just when you thought the circumstances around Alvaro Uribe’s attempt to go “Back to the Future” couldn’t get any weirder, the ex-Colombian congresswoman at the center of the bribery scandal that has called into question the legitimacy of Uribe’s 2006 election, Yidis Medina, has posed naked (while in jail) for the Colombian magazine SoHo.
In Colombia, or Bizarro Latin America as I like to call it, constitutional-vote- buying = non-delivery of promised political favors, 3.5 years house arrest, being called loca, and a black-and-white nudie spread for the ex-Congresswoman who admits being bribed for her deciding vote. And conveniently for the Uribe government, Ms. Medina also wins an "unrelated" set of criminal charges for kidnapping that prevents her release from detention.
But for the democratically-challenged “President” that denies the bribes took place, constitutional-vote-buying = a time-traveling referendum to affirm the dubious constitutional amendment that allowed his current term. But hey, if you've already thrown your country into a constitutional crisis, why stop there? How 'bout another constitutional change to pave the way for another presidential term + the US will throw in a John McCain and a free trade agreement for your troubles. You can almost hear Uribe cackling as he stares at Yidis's ass. He hasn't pulled it all off yet, but would you bet against this calculating little Caesar?
Say, who are these sexy little insurgents? Why it's the waitstaff of Lebanon's brand new fast food hotspot called, ahem, "Hugo Chavez." According to the Spanish-language story in Aporrea, the joint recently opened in Dahie, a region south of Beirut that was all but destroyed in the Israeli attacks of 2006. Chavez is quite popular all over the Arab world, but even more so here.
Ask about the arepa-lafel!
This page contains an archive of all entries posted to BoRev.Net in the The BoRev Beyond Venezuela category. They are listed from oldest to newest.
Dubious Sources is the previous category.
The BoRev in the Blogosphere is the next category.