SATURDAY UPDATE AT BOTTOM
I’m not one to cover politics much on this website, but this combination of headlines here in Peru today struck me as something that people elsewhere deserve to see:
On the left, a graphic showing the five presidential candidates with current poll results:
Alejandro Toledo 19.4
Ollanta Humala 17.6
P Pablo Kuczynski 17.5
Keiko Fujimori 16.1
Luis Castanneda 15.5
The headline, correctly, translates to something like “neck and neck.” Toledo has been a shoe-in for the second-round runoff from the start, with the real race for second place. And now,with a statistically insignificant 0.1% lead, Humala is suddenly a real contender.
The right-hand newspaper, which is supposed to be a more serious, sober paper, is hilarious. In case you don’t speak Spanish, it is:
OLLANTA HUMALA GOVERNMENT PLAN IS STATIST AND AUTHORITARIAN.
This is the news!
Given the class breakdown in Peru, and how many people feel kinship with El Comercio (hint: not many), I’d say it’s a very good day for Humala.
I saw this headline just hours before reading this long Lula analysis which includes a paragraph that would seem to apply to Humala:
The degree of venom directed at Lula bore little or no relation to anything he was actually doing. Behind it lay other and deeper grievances. For the media, Lula’s popularity meant a loss of power. From 1985 and the end of military rule, it was the owners of the press and television who in practice selected candidates and determined the outcome of elections. The most notorious case was the backing of Collor by the Globo empire, but the coronation of Cardoso by the press, before he had even thrown his hat into the ring, was scarcely less impressive. Lula’s direct rapport with the masses broke this circuit, cutting out the media’s role in shaping the political scene. For the first time, a ruler did not depend on their proprietors, and they hated him for this. The ferocity of the ensuing campaigns against Lula could not have been sustained, however, without a sympathetic audience. That lay in the country’s traditional middle classes, principally but not exclusively based in the big cities, above all São Paulo. The reason for the hostility within this stratum was not loss of power, which it had never possessed, but of status. Not only was the president now an uneducated ex-worker whose poor grammar was legend, but under his rule maids and guards and handymen, riff-raff of any kind, were acquiring consumer goods hitherto the preserve of the educated, and getting above themselves in daily life. To a good many in the middle class, all this grated acutely: the rise of trade unionists and servants meant they were coming down in the world. The result has been an acute outbreak of ‘demophobia’, as the columnist Elio Gaspari, a spirited critic, has dubbed it. Together, the blending of political chagrin among owners and editors with social resentment among readers made for an often bizarrely vitriolic brew of anti-Lulismo, at odds with any objective sense of class interest.
UPDATE SATURDAY: CHAVEZ COMING TO TAKE OVER PERU!
Here is Bloomberg saying “Chavez Ally Humala Says Will Seek to Renegotiate Peruvian Energy Contracts.”
Hugo Chavez has a slogan, “Chavez drives them crazy.” His supporters like to chant it to the tune of “neener, neener, neener.” I have no idea how similar or different the guys really are, but Humala could certainly adopt that slogan.