Ten political figures and my thoughts on them
1. Michelle Bachelet. President of Chile. On one hand, I am very inclined to like Bachelet. As a person. She's the leader of a latin american country and so she has to rub elbows with the boys. And most of the boys don't let their women out of the kitchen. So kudos. But what has she done for Chile? Here, outside of Chile, we haven't seen much. And my husband is not a fan. Plus it is just too fun to say "Jabbachelet" instead of "Bachelet". Which isn't fair but hey, we all have stories of people making fun of our names.
2. Hugo Chavez. President of Venezuela, right? I know this: I have said that he is hilarious. And he is funny. But he's starting to act funny-scary and less funny-clown-act. He's BFF (or at least he thinks...) with Castro and he's on the news for all sorts of ridiculous rules like firing people or saying "no Christmas/Santa Claus in Venezuela because it's too US/Western World imagery". I liked that he had the balls to say that the war in Iraq was wrong but then I started realizing that he kind of always acts like he wants someone to assassinate him so that he can blame it on the US. And that creeps me out. But you know, they did start selling "chavito" dolls. Can I imagine Chavez hanging out with Barbie? He wishes...
3. Evo Morales. President of Bolivia. Also kind of funny. Funny looking. I think he is just trying to be friends with Hugo Chavez. It's funny that Bolivia is obsessed with being cool. They have a navy. And they are also landlocked. I see a lot of photos of Morales with Chavez and Castro. He's like the third wheel and it's kind of awkward....
4. Alberto Fujimori. I don't know how but Peru elected a Japanese guy to be their president. He left office and they figured out a little too late that he stole a whole lot of money from the Peruvian government. And now he's in a Chilean jail. What's funny is that a)Peru really wants Chile to let Fujimori go and return to Peru and b)Fujimori wants to be re-elected as President of Peru. Only in Latin America can you steal a whole lot of money, flee the country, be arrested, come back, and be welcomed/re-elected.
5. Felipe Calderon. Mexico's President. We have the same last name and we aren't related and it sucks (because he could totally be my rich uncle and I'd be cool with that.) But as a politician- I think he has his work cut out for him. He hasn't been in office for that long but he's got a country that's kind of falling apart, he has to maintain relations with the US and a lot of people are asking him to fix the immigration problem. And he has his OWN immigration problem because all of Central America is sliding into Mexico illegally (oh the irony). Plus, there is a gigantic gap in economy in Mexico and a gigantic gap in things like education- a substantial portion of Mexico doesn't know how to read or even speak Spanish. And I haven't really seen him do much about it. I know that there is an escalating violence problem in Mexico.
6. Vicente Fox. The ex-president of Mexico. He did some great things for Mexico but he's gone. He got the job because he was really really rich and, at least on TV and in comedy sketches, he's kind of like George Bush in Spanish- he's a cowboy/rancher/ "man of the people" who speaks really slow.
7. Antonio Villaraigosa. Mayor of Los Angeles. Has a name that's hard to say and hard to spell.
I voted for him. He's good at being on TV all the time and he's really good at being on the Spanish TV news, giving interviews. Has he done anything? I don't know but I do know that I always see him, especially whenever there is an issue that really affects how latinos vote. I have a lot of Conservative Republican friends who love pointing out that he failed the CA bar exam like 7 times. And I know he still has all of his gang tattoos. He relates to a lot of people and I think that is important.
8. Arnold Schwarchenegger. Why he is a politician, I do not know. But I voted for him too, the second time around. I like that he wants all children to have health care and like Villagarosa, he is always on TV most especially when it is good for a vote. My Liberal Democrat friends say he is an opportunist and my Conservative Republican friends say he is a liberal (he's a Republican).
What's hilarious--> you can buy a t-shirt at the Los Angeles International Airport with a photo of "the Governator".
9. Hillary Clinton. Senator of New York, right? I have a lot of Democrat friends who absolutely refuse to be associated with her. It's like she's so "in your face" that she's so not cool. I will stand my ground. I like her. She has ideas and a platform and isn't "nice" or "idealistic" (I just think Obama is too cute and too "green" and too MTV to lead us out of war...)
10. George Bush. I didn't want to write about my own President. But I can't think of anyone else. I don't like him and I'm not a fan. Some days, I think he's way too powerful and just, why is he making the decisions he is making? And then other days, I see him as kind of like a patsy and that everyone around him is making the decisions. I haven't fully decided. Maybe he's just the face of a whole national/cultural problem that I don't agree with or like. Chavez (see above) calls him "Mr. Danger"/a coward/the devil. I don't think he's the devil but there is just so much I don't like. I will say this: My grandpa voted for him because he thought he'd rather have a beer with Bush than with Kerry (and having kind of met Kerry/seen him really up-close and listened to him talk, I can kind of understand...) But I think a lot of people voted for Bush for similar reasons. Or maybe because he's against gays and abortion.