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Old 12-21-2005, 09:57 AM   #1
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Chavez has a new best friend ...

[q]For Bolivian Victor, A Powerful Mandate
Populist Faces Practical Constraints

By Pamela Constable
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, December 20, 2005; Page A01

The sweeping if unofficial victory of Evo Morales in Bolivia's presidential election Sunday has made the former coca farmer and grass-roots activist the nation's strongest elected leader since the end of the last military dictatorship in 1982 and has given him an unprecedented opportunity to transform the impoverished Andean country.

The question, say both Bolivian and U.S. observers, is whether the socialist candidate will use that mandate to follow through on pledges for radical economic and political change -- pledges that won him support among indigenous and poor voters -- or whether he can demonstrate enough pragmatism to reassure foreign governments and investors, whose support he needs for economic development.

Morales, 46, is a fiery politician and an Aymara Indian who electrified Bolivia's poor but struck fear into the business elite and irritated officials in Washington by opposing U.S. anti-drug programs and spouting anti-imperialist rhetoric. Whichever path he chooses, his victory stands to resonate far beyond the small, landlocked nation with a history of military coups and wobbly civilian governments.

"Morales faces a very difficult balancing act," said Michael Shifter, an analyst with Inter-American Dialog, a nonprofit institute in Washington. "There is a lot of rage and resentment in Bolivia, and as a candidate he has capitalized on that. But now, in order to govern successfully and keep the country economically viable, he has to reach out to all sectors and show signs of moderation, while convincing his supporters he hasn't sold them out."

As Morales joins a growing list of elected Latin American presidents generally described as leftist or populist, he has two basic models from which to choose. One is that of Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has gleefully defied the Bush administration, formed a warm alliance with Cuba's Fidel Castro and cracked down on domestic opponents in the name of social change. The other is that of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil, who has developed disciplined fiscal policies, left democratic institutions intact and avoided alienating the United States, all while forwarding broad social programs to help the poor.

"The old threat in Latin America was that of military coups. The new threat is that of authoritarian democracies -- leaders who get elected and then use the state to repress opponents, push through social change and stay in power," said Bernard Aronson, an international consultant in Washington and a former State Department official. "That is what Chavez is doing, and what Lula is not doing," he said. "The big question is, which way will Evo Morales go?"

Morales defeated pro-business candidate Jorge Quiroga, a former president who conceded the election late Sunday after unofficial returns showed Morales with 45 percent of the vote. Officially he needed more than 50 percent to win, and the ultimate decision still rests with Congress, but Quiroga's concession appeared to cement the results.

Until now, Morales has cultivated an image that is far closer to Chavez than Lula. He has promised to nationalize Bolivia's largely untapped natural gas reserves, has ardently opposed U.S. drug eradication programs that have relied heavily on aerial herbicide-spraying, and invoked the populist rhetoric of anti-imperialism. During a recent economic conference in Argentina, he joined Chavez in a protest rally outside while President Bush met with other Latin American leaders inside.

On Sunday, he repeated some of his more provocative assertions, saying he would never accept a relationship of "submission" with Washington. Yesterday, he stepped up his criticism of U.S. anti-drug programs, telling reporters in the city of Cochabamba that "the fight against drug trafficking is a false pretext for the United States to install military bases, and we are not in agreement."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...121900117.html


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Old 12-21-2005, 01:59 PM   #2
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Now two people have come to power by demonizing the US and "imperialism". How long before they kill their own economies?
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Old 12-21-2005, 02:04 PM   #3
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it's amazing how worldwide anti-US sentiment, largely in thanks to Bush and his hubris and willingly playing into the hands of "imperailist" narratives held in the pockets of anyone who doesn't live in the first world, has created more and more democratically elected opponents of the United States.
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Old 12-21-2005, 02:06 PM   #4
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How do you think the Canadian Prime Minister got elected last time? By running on a campaign of "the conservatives are as scary as George Bush and his evangelicals."
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Old 12-21-2005, 02:44 PM   #5
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Originally posted by nbcrusader
Now two people have come to power by demonizing the US and "imperialism". How long before they kill their own economies?

"people have come to power by demonizing "


I am so glad that never happens in America.*
























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Old 12-21-2005, 02:51 PM   #6
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Well I think, right or wrong, an anti-imperialist and often anti-US message appeals to a lot of people in the third world. I've never been in these people's position so I'm not going to judge them or their reasoning for this.

The guy said he does want relations with Washington, just not one of "submission"...understandable. Hopefully that's what will happen.
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Old 12-21-2005, 05:06 PM   #7
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Originally posted by Irvine511
it's amazing how worldwide anti-US sentiment, largely in thanks to Bush and his hubris and willingly playing into the hands of "imperailist" narratives held in the pockets of anyone who doesn't live in the first world, has created more and more democratically elected opponents of the United States.

So which is it? Democratically elected President bad, but democratically elected opponents good? I don't understand your reasoning.
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Old 12-21-2005, 06:05 PM   #8
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Originally posted by VertigoGal
Well I think, right or wrong, an anti-imperialist and often anti-US message appeals to a lot of people in the third world. I've never been in these people's position so I'm not going to judge them or their reasoning for this.

The guy said he does want relations with Washington, just not one of "submission"...understandable. Hopefully that's what will happen.
Yeah.......people in Latin America shouldn't have to take orders from "Uncle Sam". I'm just glad the people of Bolivia got to democratically elect their leader, I don't like dictatorships anywhere.
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Old 12-21-2005, 06:19 PM   #9
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So which is it? Democratically elected President bad, but democratically elected opponents good? I don't understand your reasoning.


no -- democratically elected president who wins on an anti-american platform spells bad news for the united states because it's a government that must be legitimate in our eyes (because we are spreading the unqualified good of democracy throughout the world, right? and we'd never unstead a democratically elected president, right?).

it also indicates that the rest of the world's dislike of the United States and it's activities is so intense, that it becomes a singularly defining election credential -- even in highly advanced countries like Germany and Canada.
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Old 12-21-2005, 06:48 PM   #10
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The negative views of America have grown dramatically since Bush became President. Immediately, after 9/11 the world had a huge hug for the US even your "enemies". Since then Bush's policies and unilateral decision making in the name of America has simply given the US a bad reputation.

Bushites tromp around the world talking about human rights, civil liberties, democracy, equality and all that jazz, but after the Iraq war and all its failures in planning and intelligence, Abu Ghraib, Camp X-ray, 108 detainees dying in US custody, the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame, this spying fiasco, the evidence of millions of Americans living poverty in the richest nation in the world after Katrina, trade agreements being ignored, Bolton's appointment to the UN, zero accountability for the failure of intelligence leading up to 9/11, etc. combined with the arrogance of this president, what do you expect?

The people of America are being clumped in with this stuff and they don't deserve it. The average US citizen knows better and expects better. And many politicians don't want to appear to chummy with this kind of government leading to what we are seeing in political strategies around the world.
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Old 12-21-2005, 06:53 PM   #11
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trevster, what do you mean by "108 detainees dying in US custody?" I've seen and heard all kinds of numbers regarding who may have died at gitmo, but I was wondering if you had a source you could link to. Unless I missed something, I don't think this has been widely discussed in the US media at all, which is interesting. anyway, do you have a link? thanks
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Old 12-21-2005, 07:03 PM   #12
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http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/articl...w111607S94.DTL

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/...in680658.shtml

There you go VertigoGal, not a pretty read.
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Old 12-21-2005, 07:25 PM   #13
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It seems like the 26 figure is the most significant, but in any case that is troubling. I have to wonder why the Abu Gharib photos of some naked guys in a human pyramid were so much more widely reported. (I suppose cos it involved pictures of a naked human pyramid...that's a sad statement on a lot of things, isnt it?)

btw, did people not know there was poverty in the US? there's poverty everywhere in the world.
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Old 12-21-2005, 07:39 PM   #14
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Funny. The more the U.S. tries to maintain its dominance over the rest of the world (PNAC, anyone?), the more the world wants increasingly nothing to do with us and is vehemently asserting its autonomy by electing anti-American leaders.

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Old 12-21-2005, 07:45 PM   #15
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26 is significant but the other 78 deaths are bizarre considering most of the detainees were young men.

The poverty levels in the US are hardly known by many US citizens as the reports after Katrina showed but the point there is that when the US government says democracy and freedom is the land of milk and honey but at the same time millions are living in shacks, it looks bad, jeez, millions have jobs and still can barely make ends meet. Plus the US is the richest nation ever on the planet.

I think this is one of the faults of capitalism, yeah, people say everyone should just work hard and you can achieve anything, bullshit. Not everyone can be a millionaire regardless of how hard they work. Who would work at restaurants, retail stores, gardening, parking valets, housekeepers, hotel attendants, garbagemen, taxi drivers, transit workers, emergency workers, etc. Society wouldn't exist without contributions of people along the entire wage scale. The problem is that the people at the top make a ridiculously out of proportion higher wage than everyone else. So when the people at the bottom need assistance, the haves say work harder to get it. It is an unsustainable system unless there are checks and balances to assist the majority of people who aren't making 6 figures a year but service those who are.
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