August 8, 2002

Banana Republics 101 part III. Act II: New Republic, also Banana-like


Victor was sworn in early February, which he did by calling the Constitution a dying instrument. Things did not look great that day, he named an Urban Planner as Minister of Planning, ratified a sociologist as Minister of Finance, and an octogenarian former union leader as Minister of the Interior and sprinkled the Cabinet with current and former military. He immediately asked for extraordinary power on economic matters for six months and proposed a referendum to ask the people to have elections to create a Constituent Assembly, approved by 92% of the population. In July, the people elect 121 of 131 representatives from Victor’s supporters in an unprecedented support. While a new Constitution is written Victor travels to Asia, Europe and Cuba to visit his good friend Fidel Castro. Victor enjoys himself playing baseball and bores his people with long televised speeches.  Upon his return from his first trip, the head of intelligence, shows him proof of as many as 46 cases of corruption. In December of that year the focus on politics distracts the Government from the heavy rains and on the same day that the new Constitution is approved, mud slides in the coastal areas kill an estimated 40 to 50 thousand people. Victor has to use force on looters, some people are shot. Lost in the shuffle of the new Constitution is the power vacuum left between the new Constitution takes effect and elections for representatives. Victor’s Government appoints a “Little Congress”, which has no legal, democratic or constitutional basis. Nobody nationally or internationally says much about it. Who cares about democracy when bananas are involved!!!!

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