"The left is celebrating Gutierrez's victory"

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Nov 27 12:11:17 MST 2002

To me this "news article" has the ring of the current take of a wing of
State Department types on the current developments in Latin America.  It
comes from BBC.


Monday, 25 November, 2002, 17:29 GMT
Analysis: Latin America's Left Shift
The left is celebrating Gutierrez's victory

By Tom Gibb
BBC Correspondent

The victory of ex-colonel Lucio Gutierrez in Ecuador's
presidential run-off appears to be part of a Latin
American trend to shift to the left.

A former coup leader, Mr Gutierrez, seems to have a
great deal in common with Venezuela's controversial
left-wing president, Hugo Chavez, and his victory
follows the election of the Workers Party candidate,
Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in Brazil.

The consistent message from Latin America's voters is
for change. They are fed up with corruption and an
economic model which has not improved the lot of many
ordinary people.

But while there is a common thread of discontentment,
the governments the various countries end up with are
likely to be very different.


Mr Chavez in Venezuela is a traditional Latin American
populist, whose attempts to push through changes have
led to ever more bitter conflict with the country's
traditional powers.

It is a violent polarisation which is undermining
Venezuela's democratic institutions. Brazil, by
contrast, is enjoying an unprecedented smooth
transition in the run-up to its first working-class
president, known as Lula, taking office in January.
Brazil's Lula leads a modern political party

Lula's Workers Party is one of Latin America's few
modern political parties, with a proven track record
in local government.

Lula is negotiating with his opponents to reach a
consensus for change, a policy which, if it succeeds,
may well strengthen Brazil's democratic institutions
rather than undermine them.

On face value, Ecuador's new president-elect, Mr
Gutierrez, seems much more in the Hugo Chavez mould.

He is an outsider and former coup leader who
campaigned in military uniform.

The election in Ecuador was far more polarised than in
Brazil. But at the same time, the president-elect has
toned down his rhetoric in recent weeks, promising to
govern within International Monetary Fund guidelines
and to attract foreign investment.

He may still surprise his critics who predict

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