It looks like another country in South America has gone to the dark side. First it was Venezuela, when it elected Chavez in 1998, then Bolivia, when it elected Evo Morales in 2005, followed by Ecuador, which elected Rafael Correa in 2006. Now it's Peru's term, as they elected Ollanta Humala as President, sending the Peruvian market down 12.5% (the equivalent of 1,500 points on the Dow!!!). How bad is Humala? Only time will tell, this time around he campaigned as a benign socialist like da Silva from Brazil, despite the fact that he embraced (and was embraced by) Chavez and Morales in the last Presidential election 2006. Also, it is not clear how "benign" he is as he wants to increase the corporate tax rate from 30-45% and enact a windfall tax on mining companies. He also comes from batsh*t crazy roots. His mother said in 2006 that all homosexuals should be shot and his father was a communist and an ideological leader in the Movimiento Etnocacerista, a group that wanted massive nationalizations, legalization of coca farming and the destruction of Chile, apparently the sworn enemy of Peru.
Luckily for Peruvians, he won't be able to govern as a dictator (yet) as his party only has 36% of the seats in the parliament and Humala himself only received 30% of the vote in the first round of voting (he won with 51% in the second round, thanks in part to the hatred of the family of his challenger, Keiko Fujimori, daughter of the ex-President Alberto Fujimori. Let's hope he over-reaches and self-destructs before he can consolidate his power like Chavez and Morales.
I am wondering though whether our State Department and intelligence agencies have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to South America. How did things get so bad? It seems that the only states we can probably count on at his point are Colombia and Chile. The left is in control of almost all of the rest, ranging from relatively democratic socialists in Brazil and Argentina (though Argentina's seizing of private pensions makes you wonder how much they actually value private property) to outright enemies like Bolivia and Venezuela (Venezuela has become a base for just about all our enemies, including Hezbollah and Iran). Don't you think there would have been something we could have done to stop at least the Chavez and Morales takeovers? And in the case of Chavez, why didn't W support the military coup against him in 2002. It's not likely that his replacement would have been worse and probably much better. While I realize he was busy trying to bring democracy to the Arab world, maybe he should have spent more time defending and reinforcing democracy in the Americas. It really is amazing how complacent we have been.