a trinity of latin leaders
My best blogging buddy, and erstwhile blogging neighbour, is the colourful Brazilian resident and wordsmith extraordinaire, John Zande. He’s a huge fan of my photography, but we occasionally discuss other matters too. He recently drew my attention to my shocking levels of ignorance. Having lived in Argentina for three years, it would be normal for me to know a bit about politics in South America, but it seems some basic facts escaped my attention. In order to redress this shameful oversight, I thought it would be useful to pull together an educational post about some of the oddly fascinating heads of states ruling in that now faraway continent.
President of Uruguay – José “Pepe” Mujica
- 77-year-old vegetarian dog-owner
- donates 90% of his monthly salary to charity
- lives on a farm and drives a VW Beetle
- got shot six times and spent two years at the bottom of a well as a political prisoner in the 1970s
- he’s an atheist
“This is a matter of freedom. If you don’t have many possessions then you don’t need to work all your life like a slave to sustain them, and therefore you have more time for yourself.”
“[there is a] blind obsession to achieve growth with consumption, as if the contrary would mean the end of the world”
President of Venezuela – Nicolás Maduro
- good buddy of deceased former president, Hugo Chavez – calls himself ‘son of Chavez’, and calls Chavez ‘Christ of the poor of America’.
- while praying in a chapel, he believes the spirit of Chavez came to him in the form of a bird and gave him his blessing. [worrying youtube video link]
- he’s a follower of contraversial Indian guru, Sathya Sai Baba,
“Suddenly a bird entered, very small, and flew round three times. It stopped on a wooden beam and began whistling [whistles like bird] I stared at him and whistled back. The bird looked at me strangely, whistled for a little while, flew around and left, and I felt the spirit [of Chavez].”
President of Argentina – Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
- widow of former President Nestor Kirchner
- the couple’s personal wealth has grown dramatically since being in office due to supposedly astute business investments. Allegations of Kirchner money laundering scandals are currently daily news in Argentina.
- in order to stop losing foreign currency reserves from the country, the government has made it impossible for the average citizen to legally buy foreign currency in Argentina – the official exchange rate is around 5 pesos to the dollar, while the black market rate is around 10 pesos to the dollar
- the official rate of inflation is around 10%, while unofficial estimates run at 25% (any private companies within the country who publish their own figures are promptly shut down)
- her government recently changed the scheduling of top football matches to 9.30pm in order to clash with the TV programme of the journalist releasing weekly Kirchner corruption scandals. For the first time in Argentinian history, football came second.
- she’s a devout Catholic, whose political arch-enemy was Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio … until he became the strategically useful Pope Francis.
None. Cristina gives no interviews, has no press conferences and never has to answer questions about her policies. She even refuses to comment when around 1 million Argentinians take to the streets to demonstrate against her corruption.
I’m already wearing the Best Blogging Buddy badge and am going to wander all over my neighbourhood today showing people.
I think Cristina is going to be lynched…. And Mujica should be elevated to President of the World.
You definitely earned that badge, take some photos please! 🙂
I think Cristina will continue to the bitter end, pretending everything is as it’s not. I totally love all I’ve read about Mujica, but do you think it’s possible to trust any politician?
I think… yes. There has to be one good man out there, right?
More likely a women.
I have hope for Elizabeth Warren in the US. She’s a dynamo.
Ooooh, more wisdom from my best blogging buddy. I’ll look into her …
You make my heart jump every time you say that! 🙂
Ark’s going to be so cranky…
Speaking of Ark, it looks like he’s disappeared again! I’ve just left him a note. I think his heart’s not in it since PeW gave up.
PeW gave up? Let’s hope he realised its all bullocks.
Ark will be back. He probably had to go have a word with that dancing Osiris statue.
John, you must have campaigned so hard for this title or Violet is very nice though I think both scenarios are true in your particular case.
I like Mujica too
My campaign was, sadly, in vain. Cast out, i am… ostracised, disheveled, divorced. 😦
How can you say that while you are the current best blogging buddy. I mean with all the adjectives she put into that introduction, you must have been smiling all the way. I could say you were glowing 😛
Nah, some manwhore named Dave is now her best buddy. I feel so dirty, so used…. I must shower and scrub my skin off 🙂
Hahahahaha! Now that happened to fast.
I feel you now 😦
Sorry, Jim, not dave
Just keep praising her flowers, you will be recognised sooner. Ark had that position for a very long time until just recently when he chose to let it go.
Oh come on, Ark chose nothing. I let him go for his sloppy work!
I should be forgiven if I don’t mention the photos, usually your posts are so entertaining that by the time I finish reading, I forget there was photo unless maybe we start having them at the end of the post 🙂
Haha! That’s an excellent piece of praise, you may get another badge for it! 🙂
I agree with President Mujica’s economic philosophy. I suspect you do too, Violet. Most people seem obsessed with money and “stuff.” They’re trying to fill an existential void that can only really be filled by … listening to me. 🙂 If you created another blog that deals with economic issues, then perhaps I could be your best blogging buddy.
Yes, you’re right, I do agree with Mujica. I think his quotes deserve a separate post for further exploration.
It’s easy to become my best blogging buddy, you just need to praise my photos. 🙂
I will start praising your photos, maybe I will get the badge too 😛
How could you forget?? You’ve already had it! 🙂
My apologies, but that was such a long time ago :-P.