Friday, June 6, 2014

Political Right versus Political Ultra-Right

"For the Colombian far right,  [Iván] Márquez and [Nicolás] Maduro are the living image of the devil," analyst Federico Larsen wrote in the Argentine daily Tiempo.
Billboard in Colombia ahead of runoff election
The simplest way to frame an election in Latin America is left versus right.But it's never really that simple, is it?

In the case of Colombia, where the election is between right and extreme right, the latter campaign (of ultra-right candidate Óscar Iván Zuluaga) is attempting to frame the former (incumbent Juan Manuel Santos) as a candidate of the "left." 

Santos, a conservative, is the first Colombian president to take the bold step of entering into a dialogue with the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). The peace process is grinding along slowly, but progressing nevertheless. Still, because of that effort, the Zuluanga camp has portrayed Santos as a leftist of sorts. Zuluanga, a close ally of ex-President Álvaro Uribe, shows  posters contained images of Iván Márquez, second-in-command in the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) guerrilla army, and President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, along with a message:“Ellos quieren que gane Santos, ¿y usted? (They want Santos to win. How about you?)

Check out the Campaign Web Sites of the two candidates:  Santos    Zuluanga

For some analysts, the battle of ideology is only one aspect of the Colombian runoff election, which will be held on June 15. "The Santos-Zuluaga runoff will cap an election season that many observers say has weakened the country’s democracy. Analysts—from across the political spectrum—have used terms like "democracy deficit" or "low-intensity democracy" to describe the current situation in Colombia, where legislators and other elected officials are less and less representative," Andrés Gaudín says in the June 6 issue of NotiSur.   Read More

NotiSur also contains a piece about Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's Op-Ed piece in The New York Times and how students are searching for creative ways to continue their protests, which seemed to have fizzeled.

In NotiCen (June 5), Ben Witte-Lebhar writes about the outcome of a meeting between the Nicaraguan Catholic Bishops and President Daniel Ortega, and George Rodriguez tells us about the continuing conflict between teachers and the Costa Rican government, which is now led by President. Luis Guillermo Solís.

In SourceMex (June 4), we examine two court decisions favoring indigenous rights, and how the Ejército Zapatista de Liberación Nacional (EZLN) played a role in changing the Mexican government's attitudes toward indigenous communities. A second article in SourceMex examines judicial corruption, and how a casino magnate used the courts to advance his interests.

-Carlos Navarro
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