Saturday, September 10, 2005

Katrina update

The more I learn about the situations surrounding the Katrina Hurricane, the more convinced I am about my initial assessment. The largest portion of blame falls squarely on the hands of the the Federal Government. Despite all the spin words and the avoidance of the blame game by Washington officials (which really translates to 'let's blame the local authorities', and if that doesn't work, let's blame the New Orleans' inhabitants), multiple facts and testimonies have surfaced, which point in that direction.
  • The timeline of the events. NPR's report is specially damning
  • The attempts to silence the media by pre-censoring access to New Orleans
  • FEMA personnel decrying the response as the worst in 22 years in the institution (listen to the audio, the blaming of local authorities would not withstand that test).
  • The state national guard resources have been strained due to the Iraq war
  • The testimonials coming out from evacuees, wether true of feigned, equally damning.
  • The use of private 'mercenary' forces to be able to handle the situation (against its own declarations).
  • The loss of support from known personalities. Even some of Fox News 'entertainers' are leaning that way.
  • The media not taking the Washington Evasive any longer (this is a mild example, some of the things I heard from Fox reporters were equally tempered).
Add to that all the stupid things that federal government officials have said around this disaster and other dispatches from the 'front lines' and Bush's position seems tenuous at best. His approval ratings are sliding even further (not that these were very high as of late). Polls are already showing the polarization of Americans in this issue. And even today he fails to see that the lack of immediate action (i.e. deservedly making the head of FEMA an scapegoat by firing him) are only going to make it worse. Specially when people have other comparison points of what it could have been. The Republicans that want to get any chance of re-election in the future are starting to realize all this. I now can only see three possible outcomes:
  • The continuation of a lame duck presidency, in which the complete lack of support by all parties would mean that absolutely nothing would get done in the next 3 to 4 years.
  • The 'I' word. The Republicans tried to impeach Clinton for a much lesser crime than anything that is now in Bush's hand, not surprisingly this is now one of the top search terms in all of the internet.
  • A miracle. I will never underestimate Bush's entourage (and Rove's), they might actually pull a rabbit out of their collective arse

What does this mean for Venezuelans?

Unfortunately nowadays the U.S. seems to be the only regional force capable of counteracting Chavez's influence. Too bad Bush and Chavez seem to me like two sides of the same coin. U.S. is the only force that could lead the region in the right direction to force Chavez towards a true democracy, in which he could be legally ousted. A weak Bush presidency, does not fare well in this scenario. I am convinced that if Gore or Kerry would have made it into the White House, the amount of power that Chavez has gained in the region would not be there. Heck, he might not have been in power by now!. From this perspective, I can only hope for the 'I' word or a miracle. Venezuelans, we are on our own for now.
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