August 9, 2006 [LINK]

Uribe's second inauguration

Although the ceremonies were overshadowed by the tumult in Mexico City, Alvaro Uribe was duly sworn in as president of Colombia for a second time. It is the first time in many decades that a sitting president has been allowed to serve for more than one consecutive turn. From a conservative perspective, Uribe's triumph is one of the few heartening developments in Latin America for the past year. The concluding sentence in the AP story by Joshua Goodman reprinted in the Washington Post raised my eyebrows:

Uribe made no bold proposals for improving the lot of the 50 percent of Colombians who live below the poverty line -- on less than three U.S. dollars a day -- even as the rich benefit from the increased foreign investment that improved security has brought.

It almost sounds like talking points for the guerrillas. Uribe is quite aware that as long as the civil war continues, any proposals to ease poverty are unlikely to accomplish very much.

Protesters shut down banks

Supporters of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador have blockaded the entrances to three foreign-owned banks in downtown Mexico City, including U.S.-owned Citibank. They seem to realize that time is running against them, and that if they cannot force the electoral authorities to give in to their demands soon, public opinion will likely turn strongly against them. (