Monday, March 05, 2007

T - 6

"And if during the Latin American tour he starts on March 8th Mr Bush bumps into the odd demonstration, so what?" (The Economist 3/3)

By the time Bush reaches Guatemala next Sunday local demonstrators may already have exhausted themselves. Dozens of activists were outside the US Embassy in Guatemala City this weekend, putting on a noisy demonstration of the feelings of repudio that the US President inspires. Banners were waved calling him a 'terrorist' and an 'enemy of humanity'. There's another sizeable demonstration planned for next Saturday, the day before Dubya turns up. (Presumably not in Airforce One, which being a 747, is likely to overshoot the runway and end up in the barranco.)

V's brother has just secured a position on the staff at the American embassy (I helped him with his CV) Interesting times...

These crowds may be united in the conviction that Bush has no business in Guatemala, but in fact his little tour might just help to stimulate the agrarian economies of several sugar-growing nations. In his recent State of the Union speech Bush optimistically implied that the US would be producing most of the required 130 billion litres of ethanol from its own crops. (There is still a 54% duty on imported ethanol, and a powerful farming lobby to support it)

However, with the more friendly Latin American countries like Brazil and Colombia investing heavily in new ethanol plants, the Bushes (led by Jeb with his Interamerican Ethanol Commission) probably anticipate a way for them to whack several piñatas with the same stick: stimulating rural economies, stemming the tide of illegal immigrants, bolstering market-friendly democracies and limiting the disruptive opportunities available to Chávez and his Bolivarians.

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