Latin Americans don't favor the anti-democratic left 


There’s a widespread assumption, to which I referred in my September 23 Examiner column, that “the people” in Latin America favor leftist regimes like that of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez or the Chavez imitator Manuel Zelaya whom Chavez and, alas, the United States are trying to reinstall as president of Honduras. Currently Zelaya is in the Brazilian Embassy in Honduras’s capital, Tegucigalpa, protected from arrest by the diplomatic immunity which the government of Honduras quite properly is respecting. But it seems that Brazil’s role in protecting Zelaya is not as popular at home as one might expect, at least according to this online poll in O Globo, the largest circulation newspaper in Brazil. By a 66%-34% margin (as this is written), readers said let Honduras decide the fate of Zelaya rather than that Brazil should continue to strongly support him. I have no idea how representative of the wider Brazilian public these Globo readers are. This result is the more noteworthy because of the high job rating Brazilians give President Lula da Silva.

Instead of cooperating with Chavez, we should be working to undermine him. That’s not just my advice, it’s also the advice of Jorge Castañeda, the former foreign minister of Mexico and author of many fine books, including Utopia Unarmed: The Latin American Left After the Cold War. Castañeda recognizes that Chavez is a menace; it’s unfortunate that our president and secretary of state don’t seem to understand that—and that they seem to share the old-fashioned Marxist assumption that “the people” of Latin America favor the anti-democratic left.


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Michael Barone

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