Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Chavez' Luster Wearing Off

Peruvians voiced a resounding "NO" to Hugo Chavez in this week's election of Alan Garcia as President of Peru. In the weeks leading up to the election, pro-Chavez candidate Ollanta Humala had a commanding lead. That is, he lead before Chavez stepped in, attempting to assert his own stamp on Peru's elections. The move backfired, giving pro-American candidate Garcia the victory. (VCrisis: The impact of Alan Garcia's victory on the Latin American political scenario.)

Peru is not the only place where Chavez is starting to feel the heat. Attempts to influence elections in Mexico are being met with the same resistance as was seen in Peru. Given the choice between allying themselves with the US or with Venezuela, it's unlikely Mexicans will choose the latter.

Even Chavez' luster in Bolivia is beginning to wear thin. His attitude toward recently elected Evo Morales is being viewed by Bolivians as patronizing and, in many cases, downright insulting. Morales is starting to chafe at being perceived as a Chavez puppet while the Bolivian people are growing increasingly angry at Chavez' public antics that are seen to demean Morales.

Further south, Brazil and Chile want little to do with Chavez. The election of Garcia in Peru effectively presents a united anti-Chavez front controlling most of South America. Even Kirchner in Argentina is wavering in support of Chavez, accepting money from the Venezuelan government but offering very little in return.

Chavez may well find himself isolated. What was once seen as a tidal wave of anti-American sentiment south of the border has now rebounded into a very loud anti-Chavez chorus. Perhaps now Latin America will see that it is the support of the US, not socialist Venezuela, that can bolster their economy, improve their infrastructure, provide jobs, and educate their children.

No comments :