Sunday, June 25, 2006

Jun 25/06 - On new wealth in "revolutionary" times: how dangerous can "friends" become?

A funnier - less consequential - version

PMBComment: This is a link to a very good article (in Spanish) on the emergence of a new Bolivarian oligarchy, and the relationship of the "revolution" to traditional fortunes/wealth in Venezuela. It highlights - once more - that Chávez is developing a conservative crust. And I do not mean in terms of ideology per se, but in the unadulterated material sense. These boligurgueses, as they are commonly called, certainly want to "conserve" what they have made (or won, or stolen, or come upon). A "real" revolution would - at this point - be a threat to them ("death to the oligarchs!" does not have a nice ring to it) and some believe these are the folks fueling the "Chávismo sin Chávez" movement. These people are keenly aware that Chávez's lack of managerial skills (or ethics, or even concerns) allows them to profit beyond their wildest dreams, BUT they also know that Chávez is highly unstable and acknowledge behind his back that most of his growing troubles are self inflicted, and could eventually prove fatal for the "process"

I just have two questions and one suggestion. What will these folks do to protect their new-gotten wealth? And, how dangerous is it for Chávez to be surrounded by people who understand that it is better to be Hugo's (the martyr's?) heirs and not his accomplices? With a Nomenklatura of such wealth and power, Chávez would do well to pay closer attention to his "friends" that to his enemies. PMB

The actual link is http://www.guiadenoticias.com.ve/scan0606/desc0622_rx.php (click on the image of the scanned article to get a full size version)


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Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Jun 19/06 - Condi Rice devuelve la sonrisa a Curro Moratinos: ¿Fin de una pesadilla colectiva?

Curro, tranquilo, fue una pesadilla

PMBComentario: El Curro Moratinos entró risueño en la Plaza de Rice y salio sonreído, muy sonreído…muy a pesar del descabello político que allí se vivió. Flanqueado de banderas españolas y gringas (idénticas estas ultimas, a esa que tanto deseo de permanecer sentado produjo a su jefe) parecía un niño con juguete nuevo. En vez de la Barbie era la Condi y estaba ella ahí mismo, al lado de el, diciendo las mil y una maravillas de una relación que hasta ayer olía a naftalina. ¿Quien lo hubiese creído ayer domingo? Lo que ambos esquivaron con delicadeza fue el tema tabú, de hecho el elefante en la habitación – el porque sus respectivos jefes no se hablan o hablaran en un futuro cercano. La Doctora cambio de tema y el invitado lo evadió.

Es probable que la relación requiera de una demostración efectiva de sincero amor antes de que se la remita a los superiores. Por ahora, hay acuerdo aparente en todo; desde apoyo al nuevo Gobierno de Irak, hasta en eso de exigirle al cliente-frustrado en Caracas que permita que las elecciones de Diciembre se den con condiciones que aseguren la participación de la oposición. Bronca segura del aspirante a dictador!

Es evidente que el costo de la equivocación venezolana ya pesaba mucho y más cuando las comisiones no se iban a materializar pues los avioncitos y barquitos se quedaron en el papel (y el Sr. Bono, promotor, y quizás principal beneficiario, ya no es parte del equipo). Se dice en voz alta que Moratinos y su equipo se opusieron desde el primer día a la aventura armamentista de Zapatero y su defenestrado Ministro de Defensa. Si eso es verdad – y no tengo ninguna razón para dudarlo (a pesar del facha político y protegido de Bono que aun representa a España en Caracas), hoy el equipo del Ministerio de Exteriores debe respirar aliviado de haber retornado a la cordura y al mundo civilizado. Bienvenida España a una lucha que nunca debieron abandonar, y prepárense pues ahora es que viene lo bueno. A Hugo Chávez no lo sacaremos del poder ni fácilmente ni por las buenas, pero será mucho más factible si no tenemos – además - que luchar contra sus suplidores de aliento. PMB

Trascripción de la Rueda de Prensa

EL PAÍS

Condoleezza Rice acepta visitar España como muestra de la mejora de relaciones

Moratinos expresa a Estados Unidos la preocupación sobre los vuelos secretos de la CIA

JOSÉ MANUEL CALVO - Washington

EL PAÍS - España - 20-06-2006

La secretaria de Estado de Estados Unidos, Condoleezza Rice, viajará a España "después del verano y antes de fin de año", según el ministro de Exteriores, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, que se reunió ayer con Rice en un momento de "intensificación de las relaciones". Esta visita, dijo Moratinos, recordando las anteriores, "ha sido muy satisfactoria". "Somos aliados, y tenemos muchos intereses en común", coincidió Rice, que en esta ocasión no regateó sonrisas ni presencia de las cámaras. La secretaria de Estado aseguró que la visita se producirá "en cuanto pueda".

La polémica sobre los vuelos de la CIA y el probable uso de aeropuertos europeos y españoles en los desplazamientos de detenidos sospechosos de terrorismo estuvo presente en la conversación: "Le he hablado de la preocupación sobre el supuesto sobrevuelo de los aviones de la CIA y ella me ha vuelto a reiterar sus garantías de que en cualquier país aliado, amigo y soberano, como es España, no se ha cometido ningún acto ilegal", dijo Moratinos, que le expresó "la presión que existe en Europa". "El Gobierno español" -añadió- quiere dar toda la información con plena transparencia". No se habló de Guantánamo "porque ya saben que pensamos que es una anomalía", dijo Moratinos.

En la conferencia de prensa, Rice reiteró la posición de su Gobierno sobre la lucha contra el terrorismo y añadió: "No queremos que Guantánamo esté abierto ni un día más de lo necesario". "Entendemos la preocupación sobre el asunto y las condiciones de detención", dijo también, y recordó que ha habido prisioneros liberados o enviados a sus países de origen y que el Gobierno está a la espera de lo que decida el Tribunal Supremo sobre la legalidad de las Comisiones Militares.

Sobre su futura visita a España, la secretaria de Estado aceptó la invitación sin fijar fecha -"iré en cuanto pueda"- y subrayó que su relación con el ministro se ha recuperado: "Miguel y yo nos hemos visto ya en varias ocasiones, y hoy hemos hablado de todo lo que pasa en el mundo". La mejora de relaciones no se traducirá, en un futuro previsible, en un encuentro en Washington entre el presidente George W. Bush y el presidente del Gobierno, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. Rice contestó a la pregunta sobre un eventual encuentro sin contestarla, aunque sabiendo dónde estuvo el problema: "Estamos trabajando juntos; no es ningún secreto que hemos tenido desacuerdos en el pasado, pero he quedado muy impresionada con la determinación del ministro de hablar del futuro, incluyendo el apoyo al nuevo Gobierno de Irak, un Gobierno de unidad nacional que toda la comunidad internacional debería apoyar".

Elecciones en Venezuela

"No hemos hablado de ello", dijo Moratinos, que subrayó "el buen nivel de las relaciones, los intereses comunes y la voluntad de trabajar juntos". Entre esos intereses comunes, y además de Irak, se habló de Afganistán -"España juega un papel extraordinariamente importante allí, dijo la secretaria de Estado-, de Oriente Próximo -la especialidad de Moratinos-, de Irán, de Marruecos y Argelia y de Latinoamérica, en donde España defiende una política "complementaria" con la de EE UU.

Sobre Venezuela, a pesar del incidente que se saldó con el bloqueo estadounidense de la venta de aviones españoles al Gobierno de Hugo Chávez, el ministro dijo se habló "principalmente" de las elecciones de diciembre "y la voluntad común de que se desarrollen con el mayor nivel de garantías, de seguridad jurídica, de transparencia, para que sean lo más democráticas posibles y con la mayor seguridad, y para que los partidos de la oposición puedan participar, no como en las legislativas". Sobre Cuba, admitió Moratinos: "Tenemos divergencias con EE UU sobre la política actual, pero se ha subrayado la mayor capacidad de interlocución de España con las autoridades cubanas, y nuestra voluntad es facilitar que gracias a esa interlocución, la sociedad cubana pueda ir ampliando su grado de profundización democrática y mejora de derechos humanos".

El ministro valoró que la relación con EE UU "es muy fluida, muy positiva, cada vez más consolidada", destacó los grupos de trabajo conjunto que se han creado sobre Latinoamérica, Oriente Próximo y Norte de África, y dijo, en comparación con anteriores y menos gratas visitas suyas a Washington en 2004 y 2005, que "en la vida todo cambia, y si es para mejor, hay que expresar satisfacción. Desde el principio, el Gobierno ha mostrado voluntad de trabajar con EE UU; la coreografía a veces es peor y a veces mejor, y en esta ocasión ha sido muy satisfactoria".

© El País S.L. | Prisacom S.A.


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Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Jun 13/06 - On the value of first hand testimony: a UN Ambassador with a unique perspective

Was a copy of the video included?

PMBComment: the Bolivarian revolution has been running out of ‘good” men and women to rotate in the key posts. It is the old musical chairs game but with less people and more chairs. Bucking the pattern, Lt. Coronel Francisco Arias Cardenas – one of the original band of 4F1992 coupsters, who went on to have a rather early and serious falling out with the dictator-in-training-wheels - has been resurrected (absolved might be the best description) and sent to New York as UN Ambassador.

One short plane trip for Mr Arias Cardenas, but one huge gamble by Mr. Chávez.

His task in NY: ensure that Venezuela gets a rotating seat in the Security Council

His credential for the job: non existent, zero, zilch

His opinion about Chávez: Priceless! Click on the link below

“Chavez is an ass….” and more

It would be fascinating if the United Nations Commision of Human Rights took advantage of Arias Cardenas' presence in the UN to question him on the events of April 11, 2002. In this way he could really say he represents the interests of Venezuela and not only those of its tormentor. PMB

URL: http://venenews.net/sites/UBEVET1W/files/20020411_AriasCardenas_Ingles.wmv



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Sunday, June 11, 2006

Jun 11/06 - On a radioactive travel itinerary: plus a back to the future stop in North Vietnam

Will Hugo see Ho?

PMBComment: Intent on grabbing headlines come hell or high water, Hugo Chávez today announced he plans to visit both North Korea and Iran. Considering the physical distance that separates them, one can only concluded that the "rouges tour" is solely intended to grab headlines. This desperate (not to mention wasteful) move can also be interpreted as a means to distract attention from both domestic and regional rumblings. Going global, nuclear-friendly and radically anti-systemic might also be a way to raise the stakes in a world in which leadership is being exercised in perplexing fashion by increasingly unpopular leaders. It is precisely this power vacuum that Sr. Chávez dreams of filling with defiant bravado, non-stop banter and encyclopedic ignorance ( his stated desire to visit "North Vietnam" is an endearing testament to the A-Z void that exists between his ears). PMB

Venezuela's Chavez to visit North Korea, Iran

Reuters
Sunday, June 11, 2006; 5:49 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez announced on Sunday that he will visit Iran and North Korea, two nations at odds with Washington over nuclear development, at a time when Chavez is seeking to distance Venezuela from the United States.

Chavez, who has promised a socialist revolution to end poverty in the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, has drawn fire from the State Department for building alliances with U.S. foes like Cuba and Iran.

"We will soon be in North Korea, we will soon be in Tehran, deepening our ... strategic alliances," Chavez said during his weekly Sunday broadcast.

He said the tour will also include stops in China and Russia, where Venezuela will sign military cooperation agreements with the Russian government, following U.S. moves to block Chavez's arms purchases from other countries.

He did not provide dates for the trip, which he said will include a stop in "North Vietnam."

The State Department last month added Venezuela to a list of nations not cooperating in the fight on terrorism and has repeatedly accused Chavez of supporting leftist guerrillas in neighboring Colombia, though there has been no clear evidence to support this claim.

The U.S. government in January blocked sales of Spanish military planes and ships to Venezuela by refusing Spain an export license for the U.S. technology used in the vessels.

Chavez has aggressively supported Iran's efforts to develop nuclear technology, and has helped undermine the U.S. embargo of Cuba by increasing trade and providing oil on favorable terms.

He drew State Department criticism in 2000 by visiting former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein as part of a tour to strengthen the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Last month, he took a Venezuelan delegation to England, Italy, Austria, Libya, and Algeria.

The leftist former paratrooper, who has hurled insults like "donkey" and "assassin" at President Bush, is up for re-election in December.

He is widely expected to win after building up popular support through multibillion-dollar social investment projects financed by oil revenues.

© 2006 Reuters


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Thursday, June 08, 2006

Jun 08/06 - On the Economist's take on Bolivarian expansionism: and a paradoxical tale of a forgetful trio

The Emperor wannabe and two of his three accomplices


PMBComment:
another insightful article from the Economist. Hugo Chávez, a.k.a. the Nouveau Latin Imperialist, took too big a bite and is now suffering the consequences. Are these setbacks temporary or permanent? in Bolivia and Peru he showed his true colors and the world saw it all up-close and personal; as a result, from now on he will be scrutinized much closer and hugged less warmly. It is not the end of Bolivarian shananigans, but maybe the beginning of the beginning of the end.

One would surely expect that Lula, Kirchner and Bachelet understand the profound – and all-too-obvious - absurdity of three "leftist" (progressive?) governments from countries that endured severe trauma under military autocracies posing as the main hemispheric cheerleaders for a man that Carlos Fuentes (no doubt about his leftist credentials) called a "little, tropical Mussolini". Self interest is a critical and to-be-expected element of every country's foreign policy (and maybe the only thing going for Mr. K), adherence to universal principals comes in handy (particularly for wannabes like Brazil and Chile), but pandering to dictators and autocrats is always dicey business for democrats seeking to be taken seriously.

As it becomes increasingly obvious that there will not be conditions for a fair and free election in Venezuela this coming December, it will be appropriate for freedom loving citizens of Venezuela to point condemningly at this trio of neglectful accessories to the destruction of our country. PMB

PS: Where I disagree with the Economist is on their assessment of the upcoming vote for the UN Security Council. My bet is that Brazil - trying to save its own hopes of a permanent seat - will seek a consensus candidate (Uruguay?) and then Chile and Argentina will quietly abandon Hugo. Bolivarian Venezuela’s dreams of a universal bully pulpit dashed as a result of disproportionate meddling and unbearable rhetoric. Wishful thinking? Or a real-politik plan already in motion?

The Economist
Venezuela's foreign policy


Bruised but unbowed

Jun 8th 2006 | CARACAS AND SÃO PAULO
From The Economist print edition



A setback in Peru does not presage the end of Hugo Chávez's regional influence

“TONIGHT, the country has sent a message of sovereignty and national independence and defeated Señor Hugo Chávez's efforts to incorporate us in his expansionist strategy,” declared Alan García after narrowly winning Peru's presidential election. Never before has Mr Chávez, Venezuela's radical populist president, intervened so blatantly in an election in a neighbouring country as he did on behalf of Ollanta Humala, the defeated candidate in Peru, who like himself is a nationalist former army officer. Of Mr García, he said last month: “I pray to God that he won't become president.” He threatened to break diplomatic relations with Peru if he did.

So although Latin Americans, like electorates everywhere, tend to vote according to national issues, in this case Mr Humala's defeat—narrow though it was —was also that of Mr Chávez. But from the perspective of Venezuela's president, who often suggests that he will remain in power for the next 25 years, the setback may only look temporary.

Mr Chávez's overriding aim is to defeat efforts by the United States to isolate his “Bolivarian Revolution”. To this end he seeks clients and allies abroad. In this diplomatic battle, Latin America is the main theatre and Venezuela's oil wealth the main weapon. Mr Chávez won an important victory with the election of Evo Morales, a socialist, in Bolivia. In April, Bolivia joined the “Bolivarian Alternative”, an anti-American alliance involving Venezuela and Fidel Castro's Cuba.

Venezuela has ramped up aid to Mr Morales's government. Mr Chávez is a frequent visitor to Bolivia. He has instructed its people on how they should reform their constitution, advised Mr Morales on the seizure of foreign-run gas fields, and told the army to prepare for an American-backed plan to overthrow the president. Peru would doubtless have received similar advice had Mr Humala won.

Mr Chávez may not, even now, have given up on Peru. He has often been accused, without proof, of financing not just the campaigns of left-wing parties, but street protests by social movements. If Mr Humala uses his support in Peru's southern Andes to make his country ungovernable, there will be accusations of Venezuelan involvement. In Bolivia, Mr Morales helped bring down two governments before winning December's election.

After the Peruvian rebuff, Mr Chávez still has hopes of gaining a new client in an election in November in another of the smaller Latin American countries: Nicaragua. There, he is supplying cheap fuel to mayors from the Sandinista Front, whose presidential candidate, Daniel Ortega, he supports. Yet there are signs that his meddling may be starting to backfire.

Inside Venezuela itself, Mr Chávez worked to polarise the country into two camps: those who were for him and those who were against. He also built up his power by destabilising those institutions that he could not control and creating new ones which he could. These tactics are now being exported to the regional stage. In the past two months, for example, Venezuela has walked out of the five-country Andean Community and a separate trade pact with Mexico and Colombia. No sooner was Venezuela offered full membership of Mercosur, the trade group based on Brazil and Argentina, than Mr Chávez started telling its smaller members that it should be changed or dismantled.

But not everything is going his way. Brazil is smarting from Mr Morales's nationalisation of natural-gas assets operated by Petrobras, its national oil company. There have been hints—but nothing more—that it may now distance itself from Mr Chávez. Peru's foreign minister said that Brazil was among eight countries that backed its complaint against Venezuela's meddling in its election at this week's meeting of foreign ministers from the Organisation of American States.

Another such hint is a planned bilateral meeting on energy integration between Brazil and Chile. Closeness between these two countries, both governed by the moderate left, is “fundamental” when “we're seeing a series of open and latent conflicts in South America,” said Alejandro Foxley, Chile's foreign minister, after meeting his Brazilian counterpart, Celso Amorim.

Brazil may also be cooling to Mr Chávez's pet scheme for a $20 billion pipeline to deliver gas from Venezuela to Brazil and Argentina across the Amazon. Petrobras has been an enthusiastic backer of this project, which is regarded by most others as a white elephant. But the company's president, José Sérgio Gabrielli, now sounds more cautious. He says he sees virtue in a “continental pipeline” uniting several sources of supply and several markets, but adds that this is a project for “the very long run.”

Yet there is still little appetite in the region for breaking altogether with Mr Chávez. He picks his enemies carefully, and stages tactical retreats when necessary. This week Venezuelan officials seemed to back away from the threat to cut relations with Peru, and Mr García struck an emollient note towards Mr Chávez. Brazil says it will back Venezuela for one of Latin America's two rotating seats on the UN Security Council later this year, rather than Guatemala, whose candidacy is backed by the United States. Chile is likely to follow suit. Mr Foxley refuses to criticise Mr Chávez directly. “We've learned in Chile the hard way to live with diversity,” he says. “We will not be judgmental.”

Mr Chávez still has plenty of oil money to dispense. That may not last forever. At a meeting last weekend in Caracas of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Venezuela alone called for cuts in production quotas to drive prices higher. Many in the industry say Venezuela was pushing for lower quotas mainly because it cannot meet its existing one. Since Mr Chávez came to power, the output of PDVSA, the state-owned oil company, has slumped by a quarter. But he has burdened the company's engineers with many new commitments, from helping to develop Bolivia's gas reserves to building a refinery in Brazil.

At home, in 2002, Mr Chávez provoked his opponents into a coup which came close to toppling him. Sooner or later, he may make a similar mistake in foreign policy. His foes have reacted with jubilation to Mr Humala's defeat in Peru, seeing the beginning of the end of chavista influence in Latin America. Not quite yet.


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Jun 08/06 - On the Chávez effect: Los Angeles attentive

Los Angeles Times

EDITORIAL

The Chavez effect

Venezuela's president casts a shadow over Latin American politics


June 8, 2006

ANTI-IMPERIALISM IS ON THE RISE in parts of Latin America, but the resented empire isn't always the United States. The hemisphere's new bully is oil-rich Venezuela and its demagogic president, Hugo Chavez. Thankfully, people in neighboring countries are finding Chavez's intrusive drivel about "Bolivarian" solidarity (peddled alongside anti-American diatribes) increasingly tiresome.

That was the resounding message of Sunday's presidential vote in Peru. In a runoff election, Peruvians elected a deeply flawed former president, Alan Garcia, mainly because his opponent was backed aggressively by Chavez.

That opponent, Ollanta Humala, is a Chavez wannabe, a bombastic former military man who led a failed coup attempt against then-President Alberto Fujimori in 2000. Humala basked in Chavez's support during the campaign, and the Venezuelan president called Garcia a "swine" and a "scoundrel." In celebrating his triumph, Garcia noted, "The only person defeated today was Hugo Chavez."

Polls showed an overwhelming majority of Peruvians resented Chavez's interference — the two countries even broke off diplomatic relations during the campaign — and the man who wanted to join Chavez's anti-American gang went down in defeat.

But Americans may not want to celebrate Garcia's win too much. When he governed in the 1980s, Garcia was not exactly a reliable ally or a responsible leader. He recklessly drove the country into a hyper-inflationary depression and failed to contain a guerrilla war. (He now claims to have learned from his mistakes.)

In neighboring Colombia, voters resoundingly reelected someone who is a reliable U.S. ally — and another Chavez nemesis — the week before the Peruvian vote. In his four years in office, Alvaro Uribe, a conservative, has done a remarkable job of strengthening the rule of law, stabilizing the economy and taking on the country's drug-financed guerrillas. Uribe has a strained relationship with Chavez, to put it mildly, a fact that clearly didn't hurt his popularity.

And there are signs that Chavez's influence, or anti-influence, is extending north in Latin America. In Mexico, leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has gone to great lengths to distance himself from Chavez after opposition ads comparing the two men (a comparison that is a stretch) hurt Obrador's standing in the polls. Chavez's attacks on President Vicente Fox did not go over well in Mexico. Obrador is rightly eager not to be associated with the bully from Caracas.



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Saturday, June 03, 2006

June 03/06 - On Hugo as "Cesar": the end of XXI century Neo-imperialism

Hugo and his only reason

Washington Post
Editorial

A Latin Backlash

Hugo Chavez has managed to replace George W. Bush as the imperialist specter.

Saturday, June 3, 2006; A16

FOR YEARS Hugo Chavez's steady dismantlement of Venezuela's democracy and his embrace of dictators and terrorists around the world -- from Fidel Castro to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- prompted next to no reaction from Latin America's democratic governments. The silence was shameful, partly because Venezuela's former leaders fought for human rights in countries such as Chile, Peru and Argentina during the 1980s and '90s, but also because the quiet was in part purchased by Mr. Chavez, who lavished subsidized oil and lucrative trade deals on governments around the region.

Now at last, Mr. Chavez is the object of a growing backlash from leaders around Latin America -- from Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Mexico and Nicaragua, among other countries. In part, the politicians are responding to foolish overreaching by Mr. Chavez, who has been busy trying to turn Bolivia into a satellite state while suggesting he has similar plans for much of the rest of the continent. Latin Americans don't like imperialism, whether it comes from Washington or Caracas. And even leftist leaders, like those who rule in Brazil and elsewhere in South America, find it hard to imagine themselves prospering in a Venezuela-led economic bloc that includes Cuba but shuns the United States.

The other reason Latins have found their anti-Chavez tongues is delightfully pragmatic: It's a proven vote-getter. Elections are taking place or are on the way in a host of Central and South American countries -- and politicians in most of them are finding that linking their opponents to Venezuela's demagogue works wonders. The biggest beneficiary may be Peru's Alan Garcia, who is the front-runner in Sunday's presidential election runoff. Mr. Garcia is himself a leftist populist who two decades ago presided over one of the most disastrously incompetent governments in Peruvian history. But his opponent, a former military coup-plotter named Ollanta Humala, has been endorsed by Mr. Chavez, and Mr. Garcia has focused his campaign on that point, saying only he can prevent Peru from becoming "a colony of Venezuela." It's a logical strategy: Mr. Chavez's approval rating in Peru is 17 percent.

In Mexico, commentators concluded several months ago that the poll lead of leftist Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador in July's presidential election could not be overcome. But that was before Mr. Lopez Obrador's right-wing challenger, Felipe Calderon, began running television advertisements connecting Mr. Chavez to his opponent; the polls now show that Mr. Calderon has taken the lead. In neighboring Nicaragua, Sandinista leader and presidential candidate Daniel Ortega is also suffering from Mr. Chavez's poisoned kiss.

The Bush administration, which has haplessly allowed Mr. Chavez to exploit the U.S. president as a political foil for years, has hit on just the right response as it has watched Peruvians and Mexicans turn the tables on the Venezuelan: It has kept quiet. The sight of Latin Americans rising up in defense of democratic values, and against the attempt of a would-be regional hegemonist to subvert them, is inspiring -- and it requires nothing from Washington save discreet applause.

© 2006 The Washington Post Company


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