About Secret History

Commentary on Latin America.
Mostly about Mexico - but not always.
Designed to encourage readers to learn about
the apparently "secret history" of 500 million people
spread across two continents
- but not always.
You can always count on a little snark.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Puzzle Complete! Three Cheers and a Graham Cracker for Mary Anastasia O'Grady

The WSJ attack dog on Latin America Mary Anastasia O'grady has finished her floor puzzle. When in October of last year O'Grady went after Bolivia as some sort of commie-narco-fascist state, I mentioned that:

My guess is that O'Grady finally worked her way down as far as Bolivia with her Fisher Price "Nations of South America" floor puzzle and so decided to drop her discounted and tired theories on Bolivia.  Look out, Chile, she's coming for you next.

Congratulations, Mary! This autumn Michele Bachelet - elected for a second time after a failed experiment with rightist policies after her first presidency - is O'Grady's commie boogie-man. O'Grady lays out the case that because Bachelet is looking to lower the cost of education in Chile, it is stifling innovation and driving off investment, killing the "Chilean Miracle." If we peg Chile's economic "woes" (which they hardly are) singly to the president in charge (which I think is naive and foolish thinking for any political group to do), then we might need to take into account that:

- Chile's real economic "miracle" occurred with the return to democracy and the electoral success of center-left and leftist parties.

- Under Bachelet's first presidency, Chile experienced steady growth in exports, investment, and GDP.

- The economic "disaster" in Chile started under the Sebastián Piñera term which only ended in March of 2014.

Simplistic and foolish reflections like O'Grady's lead to knee-jerk reactions and, judging by the comments on her column in the WSJ, the auto-politico-erotic stimulation of reinforcing views already held on domestic economic disputes. Nothing learned, nothing studied, everything gambled.

I'd suggest that looking at a longer string of charts on Chile we see steady growth since the return to democracy (unlike the incredible late 70s early 80s collapse under Pinochet) with occasional market corrections. I'd suggest that the center-left and left investment in a social safety net that is turning poor Chileans into consumers has been helpful.  I'd also suggest that the domestic unrest experienced under Piñera warned off investors who are unrest-averse (as O'Grady herself keeps yammering on about regarding the rule of law in Latin America). That, and a number of difficult domestic natural disasters during Piñera's presidency have also caused economic challenges. Perhaps I should blame the "unlucky" Piñera for those, too - since we're down with O'Grady-style magical thinking these days.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

EPN, Isn't It About ... Time

It seems that the Time magazine cover for President Enrique Peña Nieto more prescient than it was given credit for. EPN seems to be all about the time these days.

He has time to lounge around in a mansion given to his wife by his Salinista cronies in the railroad business.

He has time to make promise after empty promise about changing the quality of education for Mexican students.

He has time to wait eleven days before addressing the murder of the missing students of Guerrero and thirty-three days to address the families. I guess he hasn't had time to learn the theater of politics from his wife or his padre politico Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

Doubtful it will happen, but it would be nice if the congress gave him a wee bit more time and asked for his resignation under Article 86 of the Constitution.

Then it might be time for an effective truth and reconciliation commission to investigate every Mexican president from Luis Echeverria to EPN to air the dirty laundry of one of Latin America's longest running dirty wars and bring it to a halt.