Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Post electoral readings

Two items to read.

First, a very short and to the point note at the Wall Street Journal which starts with "Mr. Chávez can now move toward his goal of becoming President for life" and ends with "Mr. Chávez needs Mr. Obama's public approval far more than the U.S. needs Mr. Chávez's diplomatic cooperation". No further comments needed.

The other item is more "scholarly" and it is very gratifying for me to read it becasue it is something I have always argued, or sensed. Namely this nice research by Joshua Partlow for the Washington Post covers how the new constitutions of Latin America countries were written in part by a team of Spaniards who deliberately set to create a document who would damage the current structure of the country to bring to power a new elite that rallies around a single leader. Hence the title "Latin America's Document-Driven Revolutions".

It will go a long way to help those who do not know how lengthy and wordy constitutions are in fact a tool to enforce the power of a populist executive. To encourage you to read the whole thing I will give you an excerpt:

The final products are sprawling documents. While the U.S. Constitution has seven articles and 27 amendments, Venezuela's constitution has 350 articles, Bolivia's has 411, and Ecuador taps out at 444. Each document spells out a lengthy list of rights.

"It makes it almost impossible not to vote for them, they are promising all these rights," Quiroz said of the government. "I think they are clearly populist types of constitutions. Some of their provisions are so difficult to enforce, impossible, that the criteria for enforcing such very difficult things have to be left to the executive and the president himself."
There are so many articles in the Venezuelan constitution that some actually remain untouched since it was published in 1999. Which did not stop Chavez from changing it and threaten it with more changes as his greed for power increases. Is it not ironic to read, by the way, that the Spanish team of Roberto Viciano Pastor is helping again to re-enslave Latin America ......

And one assinine report to skip: TIME. And excerpt to remind you how useless US magazines are in general compared to their great papers:
The Sunday vote had a 32% abstention rate, and election watchers assume most of the no-show was on the opposition side.
Clearly, research and interpretation are sloppy, to give it a kind word. They could benefit from reading blog analysis. But you know, it is the TIME and they do not need to read blogs (or the NYT for that matter). In fact, this article of the TIME can be called disinformation.

-The end-

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