Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Calm down!

I just have to make a further comment on Evo Morales' likely installation as president. For once Bolivia is getting attention on the news in the UK. No doubt this is all due to the uniqueness of his indigenous background as well as the general trend towards the Left in the region. There's vene been some (limited) circulation among Latin American leftists here in the UK commemorating this victory.

But I wouldn't get too carried away. Having an indigenous leader win an election is one thing; seeing them govern in a way that benefits ordinary people is another. History is littered with examples of Latin American politicians who said one thing and did another. Lest we forget: Fujimori (unique in being from the overlooked immigrant Japanese community), Toledo (whose indigenous roots belie his low ratings and ineffectual policies in Peru), Chavez (is he really of the Left or is this just a pitch?), Lula and the Chilean Concertacion (moderates all and following the economic policies of their predecessors).

There: I've vented my spleen. Rather than get excited about this supposed shift to the Left I'm going to wait and see - and deliver my verdict in a year's time when Morales has completed 12 months in office.

1 comment:

Almir R. Américo said...

Burton,

I agree with you - there's no reason for excitement until confirming the performance of Morales in Government. And it'll demand some months. I’m socialist myself, but I never miss the sense of reality. Bolivia is a very poor country and there’s no magic available for Morales to perform in the short time to improve situation of its impoverished population. It’ll be extremely difficult for him to deal with the exaggerated expectation and anxiety that Bolivians have deposited in the new president. Morales' main obstacle will be the political pacification in the nervous and impatient Bolivia. Brazil is expected to be a source of support and equilibrium for the new government, but there is a lot of delicate questions in the agenda. Lula won’t refuse support to confirm Morales as a legitimate leader, but at the same time will be obliged to negotiate with Bolivia the “non-accomplishment” of some Morales’ electoral promises, like nationalization of oil and gas foreign investments. You know, in 2006 we’ll have a furiously disputed presidential election in Brazil, and as one of favorite candidates Lula may not renounce the defense of Brazilian interests in Bolivia. He will have to be assertive in protect investments of Petrobras in Bolivia and grant the supply of gas in acceptable conditions. The blame of Lula’s spiteful opposition will be severe if he does not behave so. I think that Morales should more likely count on Hugo Chavez economical help, but I’m not sure if could materialize it in a short period of time. And, you know Burton, in Bolivia the time is the real great enemy of all presidents.

Success and long live to your blog!

Almir [almiramerico@yahoo.com.br]