Saturday, 24 April 2010


Somewhat belatedly, here is something I wrote in El Mostrador this week.

And speaking of El Mostrador, I am beginning to understand what Karl Marx meant when he wrote that history repeats itself as farce. In the last 24 or 36 hours, the government of Chile has
made headlines twice for the same, badly handled story. First they named Mirko Macari, who is editor of El Mostrador, to head up the editorial team at La Nación, the government-owned newspaper. This was a big deal as Mirko's political sympathies are well known and not, precisely, pro-government.

But then yesterday afternoon La Segunda carried a headline that presaged what was to come. It said that the UDI was up in arms over the appointment. By the time I drove home last night, I heard Mirko being interviewed on the radio, confirming that his appointment had been withdrawn.

I have lost track now of how many appointments have been reversed or withdrawn since this government took office. The reasons are diverse, but the cause is the same: they don't do the necessary legwork beforehand. Either they don't check criminal records, or they don't check conflicts of interest, or they don't check with their coalition partners. At this point, though, having undergone a series of these mini-crises, one can only conclude that they just don't care.

It is baffling. Perhaps they figure nobody is paying attention. Perhaps their internal polling shows that the damage is transitory. But week after week, it builds an image. And it's not a good one.

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