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
23 October 2006

Lame duck Mbeki?

The local Sasco branch at the University of Western Cape is contesting the SRC election to be held later this week. They usually win the elections because they run on an ANC ticket. In previous years their election posters usually contained pictures of a smiling President Thabo Mbeki, the same picture used by the ANC during the national election campaign in 2004. I see this year Sasco posters have a large picture of Nelson Mandela. No sign of President Mbeki. The students at Sasco obviously decided they will get more votes with Mandela than with Mbeki. Or did they choose a picture of the ANC leader they really like and not the one they have to pretend to like if they were going to share in the patronage of the ANC deployment committee?

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