Saturday, September 14, 2013

Alvaro Uribe on Democracy

Alvaro Uribe testified before the Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the U.S. House. The title was "Challenges to Democracy in the Western Hemisphere." It is pretty much what you would expect: ALBA countries are bad, most other countries are pretty good, and Juan Manuel Santos is a jerk for negotiating with the FARC.

One unstated but very clear theme is that "democracy" must involve "good investment climate." That is especially prominent in the brief discussion of Honduras:

In Honduras, the 2010 elections that followed the 2009 exile of President Manuel Zelaya, which resulted in the election of Porfirio Lobo as a Honduras’ new president, have allowed the country to undergo a reconciliation process among political groups and create a more stable investment climate. 

That's a warped view, to say the least, and it is not widely shared. Even conservatives who hate Mel Zelaya are not necessarily fond of Porfirio Lobo. Meanwhile, the Honduran way of attracting foreign investment has been to propose bubble cities that can help foreigners forget they're in Honduras.

The point is, though, that democracy should not have investment climate as part of its definition, though implicitly it often does for policy makers.


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