Sunday, August 21, 2016

Stephen Kinzer (in today's Globe)

was discussing Daniel Ortega's attempts to nominate his wife for VP of Nicaragua in their upcoming election. Kinzer went on at length about the durable nature of dynastic politics in South America where public institutions & mores can be weak and elections often do not establish legitimacy. I'm surprised he didn't linger over Juan Peron's nomination of his wife Isabel as VP of Argentina in 1972..."Isabelita" (alleged to be a stripper and Peron's third wife) in due course became President of Argentina when Peron died in 1974. Allegedly, Isabel Peron holds the distinction of being the first woman to lawfully become President of a Nation State.
That is about her only claim to fame, Isabel unleashed the armed forces onto the streets of Argentina to battle the infamous "Montoneros", a Trotskyite guerilla movement who'd happily dickered with Peron in palmier times.  In due course on grounds of her mounting ineptitude, Isabel was deposed by a military coup in 1976 whereupon the Junta unleashed an anti communist purge of Argentina that would have done Lavrenty Beria proud.
NOW THAT is a cautionary tale about dynastic politics....And if you think I am trafficking parallels to our current election let me assure you that there was never a more bumptious wingnut populist than Isabel Peron, she was the Donald Trump of her times believe me.

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