June 5, 2006

Garcia wins Peru by 10 points - NAOR poll off by 28

Heh...sorry, couldn't help the headline. Not a week ago, chavista briefcase-pollster North American Opinion Research was saying Humala would win in Perú by 18 points. In Lima, NAOR's "tracking poll" through May 31st had Ollanta beating Alan by ten points, but official results show Alan beat Ollanta by 62% to 38% in the capital.

But on more subtantive grounds: God it was great to see Chavez's unhinged meddling in Peru backfire spectacularly. A couple of weeks ago, I talked about the internationalization of hemispheric politics in Latin America. Yesterday, for the first time possibly ever, a newly elected South American leader chose to portray his own election as a direct rebuff of another South American leader. Alan García is defining his presidency via its antichavismo, from the start.
LIMA, Peru, June 4 (Reuters) - Ex-President Alan Garcia, who leads Peru's runoff election, said on Sunday he had defeated plans by anti-U.S. Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez to increase his influence in Latin America.

"Today, Peru has sent a message of national sovereignty and has defeated efforts by Hugo Chavez to incorporate us in the expansion strategy of his military and backward-looking model, which he's tried to implant in Latin America," Garcia told supporters after exit polls showed him winning the election.

Interesting stuff. I have this sense that, in 20 years, we could look back on the summer of 2006 as the time when the wheels fell off of Chavez's hemispheric project. But it's early days still...all eyes now have to go on the big prize: México.