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
2 April 2007

She had very stiff competition….

Sorry, I can’t resist. A friend sent me an email with a story from De Standaard, a Belgian newspaper, which reports Britney Spears was voted the mots foolish American of the year in an April 1 Opinion Survey. Paris Hilton was second and Michael Jackson third. But George Bush (4) and Dick Cheney (6) was not far behind. I suspect this was an April Fools Joke by the newspaper, but it was fun to contemplate such a list for South Africa.

I imagine Jacob Zuma would be on the list. Maybe Jackie Selebi. The odd Miss South Africa if anyone could remember their names. Judge Motata who claimed to have had “a cup of tea” before crashing his car through a wall and swearing at the bystanders? Anyone admitting to working in a Home Affairs Office. And, of course, the presenters of Top Billing. Who else?

UPDATE: This story seems to be true as it is being reported on several Internet sites.

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