August 30, 2009

Don't tell me -- Costa Rica to go the way of Venezuela, Bolivia, etc.?

My God, I never saw this coming. And it seems to explain why Costa Rican President Oscar Arias wasn't an honest broker in the negotiations between ousted Honduras President Mel Zelaya and new President Roberto Micheletti:

President Oscar Arias of Costa Rica has joined the trend in Latin America of calling for a new constitution that would expand executive powers and get rid of “unnecessary checks” on the president’s authority. Although Arias has less than 9 months left in office and can’t run for reelection, his brother and current minister of the presidency — a prime minister of sorts — has openly said he’s interested in running for president in 2014. A new constitution with expanded executive powers would fit him just fine.

Arias’ call has been received with broad skepticism. La Nación, Costa Rica’s leading newspaper, said that trying to make the government more efficient through a constitutional convention was like “killing a mouse with cannon fire.” The newspaper also said that the idea of dismantling the checks and balances on executive power sounds like an effort to create an “imperial presidency.”

However, the most disturbing aspect of Arias’ call was his harsh criticism of the media. Borrowing from the script of Rafael Correa in Ecuador and Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Arias described news outlets as “corporations interested in making a profit” that don’t necessarily pursue the “public good.” He asked the media to “tone down” its criticism of government officials, and said that journalists “should understand their role within a higher framework.” He complained that news outlets claim to represent the public interest, without any control or accountability. (Source.)

Well, we've seen what happened in Honduras when Zelaya attempted to do this very thing quite forcefully -- he was booted from office (and the country). And that country is sticking to its principles despite our own uncomprehending president. Arias would do VERY well to reconsider his position. Costa Rica has a much longer tradition of democracy and stability than virtually any other Latin American nation. There isn't nearly the disparity between the rich and poor there, the factor which was largely responsible for the elections of those like Chávez and Evo Morales in Bolivia.

The Ticos (Costa Ricans) won't even begin to stand for such authoritarian-tinged nonsense from a president of theirs, whoever it may be. Arias, in his old age, must be becoming full of himself like way too many other politicians. He'd best sock that crap away somewhere before he ends up like his pal Mel Zelaya.

(Thanks for Rhymes With Right for the story tip.)

Posted by Hube at August 30, 2009 05:09 PM | TrackBack

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