Uribe Reelection Bid Invites Socialist Scorn

August 20th, 2009
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The Colombian Senate has passed a resolution to approve a referendum to see whether their constitution should be modified. Their goal: to allow popular president Alvaro Uribe to be reelected. At this, the opposition left the senate and boycotted the vote, which I have always held as an idiotic thing to do in a democracy. This allowed the 102-member body to pass the resolution with 56 votes in favor and two against.

This is terrible news for Latin America; it does not matter whether Uribe’s government is left or right-leaning. The “will of the people” that socialists everywhere use as their mantle, is fickle and easily swayed. The people must be protected from their government, and also from their own foolishness.

Term limits are a very wise thing to have in a constitution. An incumbent president is very hard to defeat. Should he or she be corrupt, and not above fraud to remain in power, they become almost impossible to defeat. Then the opposition is weakened, and democracy becomes a farce, as it was in the Soviet Union, and is in Cuba, and to a lesser degree, in Venezuela. Communist nations always held elections and had an active legislature; the difference was that only the ruling party was allowed to participate.

Now the supporters of Chávez and Zelaya can gleefully pounce on their opponents and call us hypocrites. Some have already begun pointing out the Wall Street Journal and Anastasia O’Grady’s silence on the issue. She has been one of the brave few journalists to publicly approve the decisions of the Honduran Congress and Supreme Court in removing Manuel Zelaya.

I hope those who have defended Honduras would join me in speaking out, judiciously defending democracy even against presidents who may be worthy of reelection, to protect us from present and future autocrats unworthy of it. We must silence our critics by speaking more wisely than they do.

Image by Daniel Horacio Agostini, used with a Creative Commons license

  • Daniel

    I agree
    Democracy does not work on account of reelections.

    Latin America is going steadily down the drain.

    But also there is an opportunity to every crisis, as always we have to sit this one out too and see how it plays out.

  • Anonymous

    I've been reading your blog posts for at least a year now, and I really enjoy it. Your opinions seem to be pretty even keeled, and open minded. I would like to challenge you to open a little more…I am not in support of Zelaya, however, I am fully against the actions taken by the Honduran government on June 28th. This is my 4th year in Honduras and it is easy for me to see why zelaya, and the anti-golpistas still have followers (paid and unpaid). For 28 years the governments of the past have willfully neglected the needs of the poor. Meanwhile, laws are passed that benefit the rich, while keeping the poor in check. One example is the law that allows fast food restaurants like Popeyes, to enjoy tax free status for 10 years, while the business owners fight to keep minimum wage low. I see that you have spent some time negating the claims and ideals of Zelaya (he is a corrupt and selfish leader in my opinion) and you have done it well. I challenge you to uncover the lies and deceptions of the ruling class, as THEY are the real culprits in this mess. They are not interested in defending democracy, they are interested in mainating the status quo. Zelaya was making changes (minimum wage hike, ALBA signing) to only keep him popular with the masses, but he wouldn't have this means, if the past governments had taken care of the people.

  • Aaron Ortiz

    Thank you anonymous, I agree that the corrupt ruling class is indirectly responsible for our situation.

    In fact, everywhere where there have been successful socialist revolutions, capitalist indifference, corruption and greed preceded them.

    I am against greed, and will gladly expose it, regardless of political leaning; I accept the challenge.

    Capitalism is very evil and corrupt, and socialism ideal. But when set in practice, socialism becomes much more corrupt and evil than capitalism. Capitalism provides an easier route of escape for the poor. Socialism gives so much power to the government, that slavery and poverty of the people is almost inevitable.

    Because people are susceptible to temptation, socialism will remain a very dangerous political system to implement. So dangerous is it, that I would not trust anyone but Jesus Christ himself to lead a socialist nation, and I mean him honor and not disrespect.

  • I totally agree. Terrible move by Columbia. It has to be the people in a democracy, and not just a single person. I would love to get term limits into the US congress.

    Viva Honduras! Viva 15-0!

    • Maria

      It’s not Col u mbia it’s Colombia.
      Colombia is a SA country.
      Columbia a river in USA or a University and a State in Canada.When they talk about president Uribe their talking about COLOMBIA.

  • Alan Campbell

    Changing the rules to preserve good guys will only invite trouble when bad guys get into power. Bad guys are also known to corrupt laws to the point where good guys can never return to power legally. With military coups no longer an option nowadays, the last resort will be a bloody uprising by civilians. I wonder whether the people of Colombia realized this.

    We really need honest education about democracy. The current one seems to be based on anti-communism to the point where it hardly teaches about democratic mistakes in the past — and there were tons of them. How many people in the world know that Hitler obtained power through a democratic process?

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