Thursday, June 01, 2006

Simon Bolivars they're not

Bolivar and the three amigos: One of these things is not like the
other things. Can you spot which one?

The First Post has another on-target opinion piece, this time on the latest crop of Latin American lefty populist politicians.

Chavez likes to call his movement Revolucion Bolivariana, evoking the memory of the great South American liberator, Simon Bolivar. But according to the author, Damien McElroy, he'd be more accurate naming his movement after Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.

Chavez has quickly taken under his wing Evo Morales, a country bumpkin Chavez knock-off in Bolivia. And in Peru's upcoming elections, one of the front runners is another politico in the Chavez marxist mold, Ollanta Humala.

Of the three amigos, McElroy says:
Chavez recently turned a horse on the Venezuelan flag to look left, not right. His weekly television show is an intemperate rant in the style of a Latin John Prescott. Only weeks before flying to London to meet Ken Livingstone last month, he was promising to kill gringos with poison-tipped arrows.

After five months in office Morales, who makes a point of wearing alpaca jumpers instead of suits, has pushed Bolivia's gas-rich southern provinces to seek Argentinian and Uruguayan assistance to secede.

If Humala wins on June 4 - and polls show him closing in on front-runner Alan Garcia - Peru's descent into madness is likely to be swift. One centrepiece of his manifesto is to legalise coca leaves as a health drink.

Simon Bolivar, indeed.

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