Friday, June 24, 2005

Moderation in politics

This has nothing to do with education in New York City, but I feel compelled to comment on some recent events in the Andes. Jon Stewart is doing a great series over at the Daily Show on toning down the political rhetoric in this country. But I wonder what he would say about the current events in Ecuador, where prisoners have been crucifying themselves in protest of overcrowded jails. And this isn't good news:

"Today there have been crucifixions. Tomorrow there will be something worse," a prisoner told the Reuters news agency.

I'm quite sure the conditions in Ecuadorian prisons are terrible, but crucifixion as a means of protest has always bothered me (it happens more than you think in Latin America). Once protests go that far, there isn't any room to step back and the conflicts tend to intensify.
But in Bolivia, which is experiencing similar popular upheavals, moderation just might have a chance. In big news, Evo Morales (the leader of MAS - a leftist political party with a base among coca growers) is working on forming an anti-neoliberal alliance with an emerging center-left political movement based in La Paz. Politics are really polarized in Bolivia, and this an important development with general elections coming up later this year. Of course, Evo Morales as president is the Bush administration's worst nightmare.

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