Quote of the week

[Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro] possesses, however, few of his predecessor’s resources, lacking not just oil revenue but Chávez’s surplus of charisma, humour and political skill. Maduro, unable to end the crisis, has increasingly sided with the privileged classes against the masses; his security forces are regularly dispatched into barrios to repress militants under the guise of fighting crime. Having lost its majority in Congress, the government, fearing it can’t win at the polls the way Chávez did, cancelled gubernatorial elections that had been set for December last year (though they now appear to be on again). Maduro has convened an assembly to write a new constitution, supposedly with the objective of institutionalising the power of social movements, though it is unlikely to lessen the country’s polarisation.

Greg Grandin
London Review of Books
4 February 2008

Barack Obama for President

Given the fact that the USA is still the most powerful and meddlesome country in the world, it is rather important who becomes the next President of the United States. On Tuesday American voters in many States go to vote for their candidates in the primaries on Super Tuesday and I am rooting all the way for Barack Obama. No, its not (only) because he is sexy and black, but because he seems to have an intelligence and integrity – given the limits of American electoral politics – so sorely lacking in most elected officials (also those here at home)

So I am rooting for Obama all the way. Who wants another 8 years of the triangulating, cautious and cynical Clintons in the White House. Now, I wonder, when will we get our own Obama here at home. Sorry Jacob Zuma, you just ain’t it. Here is a video setting Obama’s speeches to music.

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