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
24 April 2007

Thank goodness for Jacob Zuma

Vice President Dick Cheney (L) speaks as Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS) looks on at the U.S. Capitol April 24, 2007 in Washington DC. Call me old fashioned or an Afro-optimist, but given a choice between Cheney and, say, Jacob Zuma, for President, I would be happy to support Mr. Zuma any day. At least Mr. Zuma does not look like a scary psychopath and does not have access to nuclear weapons.
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