I am traveling so little time to follow up close the news. Too bad because today was truly something. No time to put links, so you will need to take me on faith from my radio and TV occasional glimpses.
The Rio group gathers in Santo Domingo
Well, the scheduled reunion was expected to end up with someone punching someone's else face and it ended up fine, to everyone surprise. It seems that eventually common sense prevailed, that Chavez and Correa realizing that their broadband insulting of Uribe was not taking them anywhere decided to take a breather. So, let's distribute awards.
The big victor of the day award
Lionel Fernandez, who as president of Dominican Republic and the host demonstrated extraordinary skill in shepherding his summit and obtaining a positive result. When he finishes his term he has a promising future at the UN or the OAS.
The come from behind winner
Uribe, no question. After the OAS summit he kept pressing, standing firm, calling everyone's bluff and it paid off. At the end drunkard Ortega had to withdraw his earlier break up with Colombia, shit faced Correa had to shake Uribe's hand and Chavez had to salute him. The winner of the round, no question. His walk around the table to go and reach out to Correa will remain in the annals of direct diplomacy.
The sour puss award
Correa. He knew he was beaten, that he had more to lose than to win trying to make a mountain of a mole hill. So he relented and allowed for a conciliatory moment. He still benefits from the OAS inquiry commission to recoup, but tonight he is in full retreat. But his face and the one of his foreign minister told the story.
The back from the abyss award
We must give him something: he lost graciously, at least by his standard. Although it was clear he was pissed when Uribe stood up and walk to Correa, as a consummate showman Chavez knew that Uribe was nailing it. So, he decided to accept with a big smile Uribe calling on him. Months of insulting Uribe to end up pitifully like that. But at least he minimized as much as possible the damage to his image today. We must grant him that cleverness. The question now is if there is no coming war with Colombia, at least in the next weks, what is Chavez going to do when he comes back to an ever deteriorating home front? "tanto nadar para ahogarse en la orilla" (so much swimming to drown at the shore).
Bad move of the day
Chavez invited to attend the summit two people that had no business there: Piedad Cordoba and Yolanda Pulecio. As a diplomatic summit the Colombian senator and the mother of Ingrid, clearly suffering form a bad case of Stockholm syndrome, were a silly ploy by Chavez to try to impress Uribe. As usual, he underestimated the man who not only accepted this unaccountable intrusion but went ahead saying all what he had to say anyway, perhaps even morally strengthened. Thus we had Chavez the manipulator and Uribe the statesman in an even starker contrast.
And these two women degraded their image inside Colombia even further where now they can be treated as traitors in the public opinion eyes. I wonder if Ingrid is ever released alive if she will thank her mother for the delays she caused to her freedom as being such a convenient puppet of Chavez and the FARC... But if Ms. Pulecio had at least an emotional excuse, Cordoba had none. Banking on the discomfiture of the president of her country in public sitting on the side that was supposed to do the humiliation, she will pay the consequences. Such political errors rarely remain unpunished.
Grim moment of the day
Perhaps the success of Uribe today could also be explained by the news that had been circulating. Ivan Rios, FARC number 4 was killed three days ago (was the release of the info a planned strategy by Colombia today?). Thus in a week FARC loses 2 and 4.
But it got worse when details came. It was the body guards of Ivan who killed their boss to cash the bounty. And they sent to the army as a safe conduct the severed right hand of Ivan, his computer and his ID papers. Ah! The lovely FARC that Chavez, Correa, Cordoba and assorted jerks think is worthy to support....