23 May 2006

Buenas noticias de Colombia

I was very pleased to read what Michael Barone learned about the upcoming Colombian presidential election. From pollster John Zogby:

"Colombian President Alvaro Uribe is leading his closest competitor by more than a 4-to-1 margin heading into the May 28 vote there, and appears headed for a victory large enough to avoid a June 18 runoff election, a new University of Miami School of Communication/Zogby International survey shows.
"Uribe would win 67 percent of the vote, the poll shows, compared with 15 percent for Carlos Gaviria, the second-place candidate, who represents the leftist Polo Democrá´©co Independiente, or PDI, party. Gaviria has gained attention by calling for an end to heavy Colombian dependence on the United States, which has directed more than $750 million to Colombia, making it the fourth-largest recipient of U.S. aid. Most of that aid has gone for drug interdiction. Uribe has fostered that closer relationship with the United States, which has also included an expanded trade pact.

Uribe's apparent electoral success may be the harbinger that Latin leftism is on the wane. Upcoming elections in Peru and Mexico will indicate whether Uribe's success is an isolated trend or part of a larger movement.

While at BYU I took an excellent course in Latin American comparitive politics, and studied Colombia in particular. I am far from an expert on Colombia, but its rich history and long experience with democracy made it a perfect example of missed opportunity. I am glad to see that the situation appears to be changing.

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