Saturday, June 19, 2010

Viva Santos?

Venezuela is so depressing to write about that I prefer to finish up with a brief note my follow up of the Colombian election.

Three weeks ago Santos, the Uribe candidate, confounded all polls and missed to be elected at the first round by not even 4 points.  Antanas Mockus, the darling of the intellectuals, who was riding high in the polls faced a stunning set back when his massive advantaged dwindled fast to barely 21 points.  Why the polls got it so wrong and why Mockus managed so many errors to cost him so much will remain for the history books.  What is more interesting now is to comment on what happened in between the two rounds, about to be done next Sunday.
Santos accomplished the feat of unite all the groups that more or less support Uribe, and then some as a significant portion of the traditional Liberales threw their lot with Santos.  The Liberales that did not follow up were the left fringe of the party, the ones that have no chance for the foreseeable future to reach power, the ones supported the most by Chavez: I have named of course Piedad Cordoba and her scant friends whose demand for abstention is not going to make them progress much, the more so that Uribe managed yet another daring hostage rescue this week.

Amazingly the ones that should have tried to support Mockus failed miserably in reaching an agreement, giving Mockus the advantage of turning them away.  The Polo Democratico inner contradictions are still too big, to pulled between guerilla love, Chavez love and genuine social democracy.  by failing they gave Mockus some of the credibility he lacked ion pushing chavismo away.

Another amazing moment was the visit of Hillary Clinton.  She met with the government of course but she also met with Santos and with Mockus, confirming if there was any doubt that the Colombian USA alliance is there to stay for the time being as a state policy.  No one that matters in Colombia found anything against her meeting with Mockus, something unthinkable today in Venezuela that a foreign visitor would meet lengthily with the opposition, by the way: it would be called unjustifiable interference in internal matters of Venezuela or something of the sort.

Thus it remains for me to announce my choice in Colombia, as it it mattered....  I am going for Santos even though I did like Mockus a lot at first.  But Santos has demonstrated that he has the profile of a statesman, good political instincts, the ability to manage a short and complicated campaign and the skill to make alliances where none was expected.  As such he is a good heir for Uribe, maybe not the civilian we all would like to see at La Casa de Nariño but certainly the man for the rough times still ahead for Colombia as the FARC must be dealt with, and Chavez.

But all is not bad at all for Mockus.  His unwillingness to set alliances might be a good thing if he did that deliberately to create a new civilian movement to prepare for the future.  Maybe not in 4 years but likely in 8 years.  No matter what his score is next Sunday, he will be the leader of the opposition and will have enough credibility to build the alternative to uribismo.  Thus he might never become president of Colombia but he can still enter in history books by creating the civilian movement that will complete the entry of Colombia into true modernity and complete democracy.

Well, one can hope anyway.

Meanwhile we can wait for the result considering that the bets will be whether Santos reaches 65% of the vote.  And also, at the same time, being green with envy from this side of the border where we consider that the Colombian democracy is now, like the Colombian peso, much stronger than the Venezuelan one and its very devaluated currency.


  1. Boludo Tejano5:53 PM

    In the previous century, Venezuelans accurately viewed Colombians as the poor cousins. Colombians similarly viewed Venezuelans as the rich cousins.

    The poor cousins have gotten off the floor and are surpassing their rich cousins. The economic gap is much smaller than it used to be, and in matters related to governance, the poor cousins are sprinting away.Times have changed, in more ways than one.

    Mockus looks like a bearded friend of mine of Finnish ancestry.

  2. Anonymous8:30 PM

    "Meanwhile we can wait for the result considering that the bets will be whether Santos reaches 65% of the vote."

    There are other possible bets, of course.

    1) At what time will Piedad and Chavez start claiming that all of Santos' votes were bought? (They seem to think that Santos had enough money to pay for 2 million votes or so in the first round. Obviously, neither of them can do math.)

    2) At what time will they claim there was electoral fraud? Will they even wait till the election is over?

    3) At what time will Chavez make his first threat against Santos? Will he even wait for the official results?

    4) What insult will Chavez use against Santos first? Mafioso or Paramilitar? Or maybe Pitiyanki or escualido?

  3. concerned11:28 PM


    The coolest part of the whole scenario in Colombia is that Santos doesn't give a fuck what chavez thinks or says. That in itself is refreshing and worth my support. I wish there were more neighboring countries that felt the same. Chavez doesn't deserve recognition.

  4. If I knew nothing else, the fact that Chavez hates Santos would be reason enough.

  5. No surprises! Santos elected president by almost 70% of the votes.


    Oliver Stone's doc on Chavez tanks...


    I let one Nelson Muntz to express my feelings for me. HIT IT!

  7. 1979 Boat People5:25 AM


    The Early Bird sang early again.

    Chavez: Colombian mercenaries plan to kill me


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