5/29/2006

Have I missed anything?

A destroyed society.

Politicians loot. Vote for bigger looters. Politicians loot even more. Rebels who are even worse than the politicians kill. The army kills too. Vote for really bad looting politicians.

Blame the U.S.A.. Vote for the most anti-U.S. candidate possible. The candidate loots even worse than everyone else so far. Blame the U.S.A. Support a rebel who kills anyone.

The economy is a disaster (no kidding!). Politicians blame the U.S.A.. Vote for them. Politicians carry on looting. Vote for the officer who tried to take over by force. The officer cancels elections and kills more people. The officer loots even worse than the others (but kills anyone who talks about it).

Run away to the U.S.A..

Complain that the U.S.A. does not adopt the same political-economic system that is familiar from the home country. Blame the U.S.A.. Campaign to turn the U.S.A. into part of Mexico.

Then, repeat all of the above.

Peru is a basket case. The election will make things worse, unless people start acting responsibly. There are few incentives to do so however.

Daniel Hannan writes:

On the far Left stands Alan GarcĂ­a who, as president between 1985 and 1990, suspended foreign debt payments and nationalised what remained of the private sector, including the banks. The result? An absolute decline in national wealth, mass unemployment and 7,649 per cent inflation.

On the even further Left stands Ollanta Humala, a cashiered ex-officer who sees Velasco as his role-model. Humala combines socialist economics with aggressive nationalism and a millenarian appeal to the indigenous peoples. His violent rhetoric has left opponents wondering whether, if he were to win, there would be any more elections.

Why have Peruvians put these two men in the final? Precisely because they have had enough of politics and politicians. They have been systematically looted by every regime they can remember.

They have seen a country that has colossal natural wealth - tin and copper, petrol and fisheries, silver and gold - reduced to pauperism. Such is their mood that, the more obnoxious a candidate seems to the governing caste, the more they want to support him.

They are voting, not in the hope of sensible economic reform - they have long given up on that - but as a howl of protest against the system.


Update: Thanks to Brian Micklethwait for correcting an embarrassing spelling mistake.

1 comment:

Matthew said...

Hamman describes Humala's ideology as "socialist economics with aggressive nationalism and a millenarian appeal to the indigenous peoples."

In other words, Humala is not a leftist. He's a fascist.

And, in the 1980s, Garcia and his Apra party were opposed by the left--both legal/electoral and guerrilla. He was a classic populist, not a leftist.

What is painfully clear is that Garcia vs. Humala is a dreadful choice. And the conservative Flores Nano probably could have beaten either of them, but she very narrowly missed making the runoff, and so Peruvians are faced with the populist vs. the fascist. No left or right to be found in this race.

By the way, Antoine, welcome back.