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
11 November 2008

Miriam Makeba, strong African woman, hero: R.I.P.

Miriam Makeba, who died yesterday, was up there for me with Nelson Mandela as a true South African icon. Such a strong women, so sexy, so many beautiful songs to remember her by, and that voice will haunt me for ever. Even when I saw her performing at the Cape Town Jazz festival two years ago and her voice was not what it used to be, she gave me cold shivers. This is one of my favourite tracks, which I post in honour of her memory.

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