Today’s Gazeta Wyborcza contains an article on Chavez and Morales which is too outrageously partisan to pass up even though I’ve mentioned the subject before. It’s by Maciej Stasiński, which I suspect might be the name of a computer program which shuffles and deals out US-approved cliches about “populism,” “demagoguery” or “the free market.” Here are the first few sentences of what is ostensibly a news report (i.e. not an opinion piece or an editorial) about the Vienna summit:
The summit of 58 presidents and premiers was to open the road to dialogue. And maybe it would have worked, had it not been for the two greatest populists in Latin America: the Venezuelan Hugo Chavez and the Bolivian Evo Morales. The oil and gas wealth which the two control has turned their heads and prompted them to a demagogic and nationalist crusade against the free market [my italics]
Any political commissar could be proud of that. It’s a wonder Stasiński didn’t brand them “lap dogs” or “fellow travellers”… The rest is too awful to read but dipping in more or less at random I came up with this pearl:
Morales did not spare Spain’s socialist prime minister Jose Luis Zapatero either, even though he [Zapatero] supports him. He upbraided Zapatero for Spain’s failure to meet its promise to cancel Bolivian debt and double economic aid.
So you see, Morales is a miserable ingrate for daring to criticise a supporter. As for the substantive issue — has Spain really reneged on promises made to Bolivia — of that Stasinski has not a word to say. Nor does he explain what he means by “free trade” but we can be almost certain that “trade” would be a more accurate description of what is on offer, since inevitably any deal on the table will include patent protection laws.
On the facing page of the paper is an article and two interviews about France. You may have heard of France: its productivity is greater than that of the US and yet they have a 35 hour week. The article headline is: “Is France a ‘sick man’?” Of course it is: just look at the first questions in the two interviews carried out by Konrad Niklewicz:
“Can France be reformed at all at all?” [Okay – I put in the second “at all” myself]
“France and Holland are two founder members of the EU. Holland is reforming and liberalising all the time, while France has ossified in its shell. Why?”
Clearly there is no agenda here. These questions are wide open and could invite any kind of answer — especially when, like Niklewicz, you put them to two Christian Democrat Euro-politicians.