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Saturday, December 10, 2005

Mercosur, hugodollars, and looove
Daniel Duquenal of Venezuela News and Views examines Venezuela trashy entrance in the Mercosur. The post raises several interesting points,
  • Venezuela was admitted as a delibrating member, but not voting member, of Mercosur.
  • Hugo's still trying to buy his way into the cool kids' club, now with, as Daniel points out, "all sorts of new donations to Uruguay, a country that has a very significantly higher per capita income than Venezuela."
Hugo certainly won't get into any club by charming anyone, considering how he's calling the EU and OAS election observers liars, right wing and conspirators. Miguel Octavio links to this article (in Spanish, my translation) quoting Hugo's nearly-incoherent words,
veedores internacionales "se prestaron" a una jugada para "desestabilizar el país". "Ellos difundieron con un sorprendente acuerdo entre ambas delegaciones y con un sorprendente parecido a las declaraciones que desde Washington están saliendo casi todos los días sobre Venezuela, uno puede pensar cualquier cosa".
The International observers "lent themselves" to a play to "destabilize the country". "They spread with surprising agreement among both delegations and with surprising similarity the statements about Venezuela coming almost daily from Washington, one can think anything."
One can think anything about Chavez's grammar, too -- don't blame me for that. Reuters was kinder, but I feel it's important that English readers catch the flavor of Chávezspeak that usually's lost in translation.

PMBComments rips this article from The Economist which claims "A FREE and fair election in which the president’s supporters win all of the seats in the legislature? It sounds more like the kind of contest Saddam Hussein used to “win” in Iraq with 99% of the vote. But on Sunday December 4th, the party of Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez, and groups close to him seem to have done just that". PMB states
Clearly the population was long intending on going against Chávez's wishes of being "legitimized" once more by a less than perfect election. The parties were willing to negotiate principles and admit illegality just to go back to a National Assembly in which they have been less effective and noticed than the inventory tags on their chairs. Ergo, the last minute decision by a these “political parties” to boycott the election is NOT the story AT ALL!

The REAL STORY is that the vast majority (83% and counting upwards as we await the final tally of null votes) of voting age Venezuelans opted to BOYCOTT the quintessential act in any democracy because they had no other means to effectively express their opposition, fear, lack of confidence, or loss of patience at the way the political elite – those in power and those sensibly powerless – have been conducting the affairs of the state.
Alex Beech looks at the international observers and examines how diplomacy can not solve Venezuela's crisis, while Caracas Chronicles compares side-by-side comments.

The Economist (article by subscription, but also available here), however, sees "the admission of Mr Chávez's Venezuela" as "a challenge to Mercosur's identity", since back when
it was founded, in 1991, Mercosur claimed to stand for open trade and regional integration led by the private sector; in 1996 it committed itself to "the full respect of democratic institutions"
The Economist concludes that
The risk is that by admitting a regime whose president is ambivalent towards democracy, Mercosur devalues one of its biggest assets, says Mr Valladão. A decade ago, there were high hopes that Mercosur marked a new seriousness in Latin American integration. Now the challenge is to avoid the welter of grandiloquence and rule-bending that undermined so many previous schemes.
However, Brazilian president Ignacio Lula da Silva, who's been receiving Hugodollars, says that Venezuela's entry into Mercosur will "open new opportunities for integration", whatever that means. Lovefest to follow.

Sometimes money can buy you love.

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