Problems of peace

"Problems of peace" Continued...

Issue: "Global shame," June 15, 2002

It is a political battle, with Eduardo Duhalde, the country's fifth president since December, now caught between his own party and the opposition, and between the government and the International Monetary Fund. The IMF is demanding additional reforms before releasing emergency capital-more loans-to the country. "We are keenly aware that the crisis advances at 100 kilometers per hour and solutions are coming very slowly," Mr. Duhalde told Argentinians in a nationally televised speech.

Brazil's better

So there was good news for economists and policymakers when Brazil released its first-quarter economic report in May. Gross Domestic Product had fallen, but by a far smaller margin than predicted (less than 1 percent). Many worried that a steeper slide in Latin America's largest country could be at hand. Energy rationing and high interest rates have been daily bothers for Brazilians. The government eased rationing earlier this year. Presidential elections are slated for October. The leading contender is Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva, an extreme leftist who could undo important market reforms and lead to instability like that in Argentina and Venezuela, where earlier this year socialist President Hugo Chavez was first ousted in a coup then reinstated.

Colombian voters say no to terrorists

Vowing to bring law and order to one of the most violent nations in the world, Alvaro Uribe swept into the presidency of Colombia after winning more than 53 percent of the vote. His margin of victory in May precluded a customary runoff election. The 49-year-old independent is described as a "hawk" and a "hardliner" by most of the media-unusual epithets for someone educated at Harvard and Oxford. But Mr. Uribe's political positions-and respected reputation among voters-have been fired in the tough arena of Colombia's local politics. He was mayor of Medellin, the country's second-largest city and once one of its drug centers, before becoming governor of Antioquia State.

Mr. Uribe hotly criticized Andres Pastrana, his predecessor, who extended an olive branch to rebel groups by granting them a safe haven. The rebels in turn have used their enlarged territory to strengthen their forces and increase kidnappings, even of high-ranking government officials.

Mr. Uribe promised voters "security, so [the rebels] don't kidnap the businessman, so they don't kill the labor leader, so they don't extort the rancher, so they don't force the peasant to flee his home." He also promised increasing ties to the United States, which already funds drug-interdiction and anti-terrorism programs in Colombia. If anything, his mandate from the voters could draw the United States further into the war, including providing ground forces in addition to the advisers who currently assist Colombia's military.


You must be a WORLD member to post comments.

    Keep Reading


    Troubling ties

    Under the Clinton State Department, influence from big money…