Fighting Words

The Many Screeching Monkeys, ever eager to discover civil wars, might usefully keep their eyes on Central and South America.
  • Last week I spoke with two Venezuelan friends about the rumor that people will take to the streets and stay there in protest if Chavez takes the upcoming election. My friends are 60-ish, well-off --not prone to civil uprising, in other words. The gentleman told me,
    I don't know anyone who supports Chavez and we are not going to let him steal another election. I'm old and there's nothing left for me but to defend the country for the sake of the younger generation.
    He says all his friends are preparing too.
  • Ecuador joins every other Latin American country in choosing between a Chavezista and a free-market proponent in its upcoming election. It's close (my theory is that in these races, thanks to tv, the cuter candidate wins, which unfortunately bodes ill for the good guys in this case). They're talking like this there:
    Mr. Noboa claims his leftist rival wants to install a communist dictatorship closely tied to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a fiercely anti-American leader. That, he warned, would lead to a bloody uprising. "Correa wants an insurrection, a civil war in which the poor will die," Mr. Noboa, 56, told cheering supporters at his final electoral rally on Thursday night.
  • The Bolivian Senate won't approve Evo Morales' land redistribution program, nor his plan to allow Chavez to place several army bases in his country. Solution? Abolish the Senate. And that could lead to...
"If they close down the Senate, the central government is finished for us, and we will have to fight to defend our own democracy," the Santa Cruz civic committee president, German Antelo, told 8,000 people in an anti-government protest earlier this week.
  • Mexico narrowly dodged this particular bullet in its recent election, but according to people I talked to last week, if Calderón is not a successful reformer, it's all but guaranteed to elect a Chavezista next time.
Maybe it's just talk. ¡Ojalá!