Quotes Suitable for Framing: Mario Vargas Llosa

Sunday, June 28, AD 2015


latin american idiot

He believes that we’re poor because they are rich and vice versa, that history is a successful conspiracy of evil against good, where they always win and we always lose (he is always among the poor victims and the noble losers).  He has no objection to surfing through cyberspace and being on-line, while at the same time-without realizing the contradiction-loathing consumerism.  When he speaks of culture he boasts, “What I know I learned from life, not from books, so my culture isn’t academic, but pragmatic.”  Who is he?  He is the Latin-American Idiot.

Mario Vargas Llosa, first paragraph of the foreword to Guide to the Perfect Latin American Idiot by Plinio Apuleyo Mendoza, Carlos Alberto Montaner and Alvaro Vargas Llosa (2001), which is essential reading in the current pontificate.

Continue reading...

11 Responses to Quotes Suitable for Framing: Mario Vargas Llosa

  • Vargas Llosa nails it. The problems Latin America faces are of its own making. Those in the USA who are casual observers of Latin America often blame the Catholic Church or Spain or international trade or some other bogeyman, but they do not understand – at all.

    Latin America is blessed with warm weather (most of it) year round. Latin America has abundant fertile land for agriculture and vast natural resources. The landscape is incredibly varied – countless miles of beaches, vast plains, the Andes Mountains, etc.

    Yet Latin America is poor. It has always been such because Latin American countries have lacked the backbone to enforce the rights of property owners, operated substandard educational systems filled with political propaganda and little useful knowledge and simply have been unable to provide the means for poor people to move out of poverty with education, job skills and employment opportunities. Entrpreneurism is a dirty word in Latin America.

    The so-called educated elite of Latin America has always looked longingly at the Left. Wealth redistribution is always seen as the path to greatness. Strong leaders are admired even when they trample on the rights of those who are not in favor.

    The United States is held in contempt, while at the same time countless Latin Americans of all economic and political classes want to come here and stay. When the US gets involved in Latin America, the Latin American Idiot is angry at the US for not minding its own business. When the US minds its own business, the Latin American idiot blames the US for ignoring Latin American problems.

    So much of this book fits the current Roman Pontiff. Add to that – the Roman Pontiff knows what he knows about the US economy from the American bishops and it is no wonder his views are what they are.

  • Another book that will help the readers of TAC understand the mess in Latin America is “The Mystery Of Capital” by Hernando De Soto. He shows that capitalism fails in Latin America because the culture, the laws, and the mentality of the people prevent it from working like it should. Someone should review this book for TAC.

  • Condescending to the max. And you posting it makes it racist. What a good Catholic you are.

  • So let me see James, Latin Americans describing intellectual pathologies popular among elites in Latin America is racist? Thank you for giving a prime example of the intellectual bankruptcy of the true believers of the Left.

  • Get used to being called racist, bigots and hate monger’s. This is what awaits American Catholics that don’t lick the boots of (c)atholics that see no problem with abortion on demand, sodomite marriage or Papal overreach. Defending the Holy Church and dogmas vs. Politics of green movements in the world.

    Welcome to the New World.
    A kinder, more gentle place.
    Oh….Jesus in the Eucharist… Body blood soul and divinity….that’s what those wacko conservative Catholics believe… Symbolic only is what 70 % of Catholics believe.

    Oh boy. What a future ahead.

  • Thus we behold Pope Francis!

  • Latin America is blessed with warm weather (most of it) year round. Latin America has abundant fertile land for agriculture and vast natural resources. The landscape is incredibly varied – countless miles of beaches, vast plains, the Andes Mountains, etc. Yet Latin America is poor.

    “Abundant natural resources” are not an unqualified blessing and are neither a necessary nor sufficient prerequisite for development. El Salvador and Cuba are the only Latin American countries which have an inventory of arable land in proportions that would be about normal in the British Isles or continental Europe (25% to 35% of the total). Conversion of forest land to agricultural uses is not an option throughout broad swaths of Latin America because the nutritional poverty of tropical soils.

    While we’re at it, aggregate standards of living in Latin America are about average for the human race. The place is notable for high crime rates and malintegrated labor markets.

  • Has anyone read “The Jesuits” by Malachi Martin? I’ve heard it will help you understand Francis’s goals.

  • And speaking of what might better be described as left wing idiocy, the Vatican has involved yet another hard core, vile freedom hating leftist to join the occupy Vatican crowd. And I thought the encyclical was an invitation to “dialogue” with differing points of view. You are seeing a modus operandi which bodes poorly for the synod. This excerpt from the Guardian article about the appointment of Naomi Kleine to advance the Pope’s green agenda

    “Naomi Klein and Cardinal Peter Turkson are to lead a high-level conference on the environment, bringing together churchmen, scientists and activists to debate climate change action. Klein, who campaigns for an overhaul of the global financial system to tackle climate change, told the Observer she was surprised but delighted to receive the invitation from Turkson’s office.

    “The fact that they invited me indicates they’re not backing down from the fight. A lot of people have patted the pope on the head, but said he’s wrong on the economics. I think he’s right on the economics,” she said, referring to Pope Francis’s recent publication of an encyclical on the environment.”

  • Art, did someone take a leak in your Wheaties?

    Argentina has the pampas – a vast plains area that is quite suitable for agriculture and raising cattle. You omitted that.

    You make it sound as if there is a deficit of arable land in Latin America. Ain’t the case.

    While Latin America isn’t a poor as much of sub-Saharan Africa or North Korea, it’s still very poor and SHOULD NOT BE POOR. That’s one of the points of Vargas Llosa’s book.

    My wife is from Colombia. She taught English lessons. She saw more poverty in her home city of Cali than you or I have seen in the United States.

  • Argentina has the pampas – a vast plains area that is quite suitable for agriculture and raising cattle. You omitted that.

    About 14% of Argentina land is arable in character. It’s one of the higher shares in Latin America but nowhere near the norms of Britain or continental Europe.

    it’s still very poor

    Brazil has a per capita income about 30% that of the United States. In real terms that’s roughly similar to that in this country ca. 1940. Brazil has a wretchedly skewed income distribution, so a fudge factor might be appropriate to contrive a comparison. The per capita income of the middle 70% of the population of Brazil is roughly characteristic of that in the United States just prior to the Depression (with a very different mix of goods and services, of course). Roughly half of Latin America’s population lives in loci more affluent and roughly half less affluent.


    A bit of wisdom from Thomas Sowell: there is nothing inevitable about progress.


Chavez Threatens War With Colombia

Monday, November 16, AD 2009

Tensions are mounting in Central America as Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez masses troops on the border with Columbia and tells his military to “prepare for war”.

The Venezuelan ambassador to Bogota, Gustavo Marquez, said that the seriousness of the situation could not be overstated and that “there is a pre-war situation in the entire region”.

Diplomatic relations between the South American neighbours are frozen and on Saturday President Chavez escalated the war of words with President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia by saying there was no chance of dialogue.

While those who are committed Chavez fans, convinced that he wants only what is best for his people and the region, may accept his claim that this escalation is necessary because Columbia has invited the US to set up military bases in their country, which Chavez sees as presaging a US invasion of Venezuela, most will see this as evidence that Chavez is seeking to establish a national enemy in order to distract his people’s attention from the economic problems the Chavez regime has inflicted on them. His ability to use Venezuelan oil revenues to buy support at home and abroad is suffering because his government-run oil companies have failed to invest in infrastructure and thus have experienced declining output over the last several years.

Continue reading...

30 Responses to Chavez Threatens War With Colombia

  • To be accurate, Venezuela and Colombia are in South America, not Central (actually , Central America does not exist as a separate continent – it is a geopolitical designation like the Middle East).

  • Good point.. Politically, I’d tend to think of Venezuela and Columbia as being part of the Central American sphere, but that may be my own hang-up.

  • Colombia is thrice as populous as Venezuela and has a working military, albeit one occupied in counter-insurgency operations rather than conventional war. Col. Chavez has been (per news reports) been cashiering officers on political criteria. One can easily imagine this will end badly for Venezuela if they come to blows.

  • While I have nothing but contempt for Chavez and his corrupt and near-despotic government, I believe it to be a tragic mistake for Colombia to allow the US to build any military facility in their country. The influence of the US is every bit as malignant as that of Chavez and his ilk.

    I can only hope the people of Colombia will knock some sense into the heads of their leaders and tell them to keep the American rattlesnake at arm’s length.

  • Dan,
    The American rattlesnake’s support for Uribe (and Pastrana before) through Plan Colombia has given the Colombian government the chance to defeat the FARC and ELN sufficiently so that many more people there live in peace than was the case 10 years ago. US extradition is the threat whereby Colombia was able to convince the AUC right wing paramilitary to stand down. It seems the snake has mostly bitten the rabid dogs.

  • It’s not the first time Chávez threatens to do something like this. If my memory serves me well, the last time there were rumours that he wouldn’t be obeyed if he ordered the Armed Forces something crazy.

    The problem with this kind of people is that you get used to see them posing as personae and parroting a ludicrous jargon (all that “Bolivarian” and “21st-century socialism” stuff which, by the way, is pure plagiarism from Peron’s “20-century socialism”, to the extent that it’s fair to say that Chávez is a Peronist) and you start taking them less and less seriously, until one day they mean it.

  • If you are not even aware of the location of Venezuela, I’m not sure we can trust your commentary on it.

  • Michael,

    Glad to see you continue to show up whenever you have something particularly deep to say.

    Given that basically all the commentary here comes from the UK Telegraph, I’m not sure what exactly of mine you think should be discounted. Perhaps my suggestion that we all pray that Chavez not allow his militarism to run away with him and lead his country into an unnecessary and unjust war?

    As for my referring to Columbia and Venezuala as being in Central American — it would have been more precise for me to speak of “Latin America” or simply of “South America”. Arguing about whether Columia is in “Central America” is (given that Central America is not actually a continent, but rather a term used for the most southern reaches of North America) rather like arguing whether Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of the “Middle East”. I’m not going to bother with it — but if you think it’s the most interesting thing about Chavez’s brinksmanship, feel free to enlighten us.

    (I considered correcting the wording in the article as soon as it was mentioned, since I realized I’d simply been sloppy in writing it quickly, but I figured since someone had pointed out the issue via a comment it was more honest to leave it as is.)

  • Politically…part of the Central American sphere

    An argument can be made for that, particularly Venezuela with its Carribean influence.

  • In fact, if you look at it from the point of view whether a Venezuelan-Colombian fracas would be more disruptive to neighbors to the north or those to the south, I would venture to say to the north. The closest southern (really, more southeastern) neighbor would be Brazil, and given the relative size and stability, it would be less impacted than say, Panama, to the north. Perhaps Paraguay, Bolivia or Ecuador would feel it more like Panama, but assuming most of it would occur along the Col-Ven border, they would seem more physically removed.

  • As for my referring to Columbia and Venezuala as being in Central American…

    Ah yes, you finally get around to responding to my comment at this point.

    …it would have been more precise for me to speak of “Latin America” or simply of “South America”.

    Yes. Precisely my point.

    Arguing about whether Columia is in “Central America” is (given that Central America is not actually a continent, but rather a term used for the most southern reaches of North America) rather like arguing whether Pakistan and Afghanistan are part of the “Middle East”.

    No, it’s not. It’s quite obvious what “Central America” refers to, especially to folks who actually care about the region and do not simply make reference to it in order to do some pro-Amerikkka posturing.

  • Michael,

    If you are so incredibly concerned about the region, I’m a bit confused as to whether you’ve posted twice about a mistake I made in terminology, but seem to have no particular concern about Columbia potentially being invaded by Chavez for no very good reason.

    Personally, I have a couple friends who live in Columbia, and I certainly wouldn’t want the delusions of the left’s favorite South American strongman to result in their country being invaded. Is that “pro-Amerikka posturing”?

    Maybe if Chavez had spent some time at the School of the Americas or was considered “right wing” you too could bring yourself to care about Columbia?

  • Yeah. I just don’t care about Colombia. I care enough about it to spell it correctly! (And I know it’s not in Central America.)

  • pro-Amerikkka posturing

    Ah yes – thanks for the few seconds of distraction and enertainment. This typically juvenile behavior is more notable than much of rest, however, given the very significant amount of ideological gymnastics one would need to attempt in an engagement with Darwin (or myself, let’s return to issue of Honduras if you wish) concerning the actions of Chavez – especially if one would wish to deride imperialism, militarism, interfering with the affairs of other nations, ect. ect. ect. Or maybe its in some way ok if the person claims to speak for the “oppressed??” Let us know!

    So how about giving it a shot, then, and leaving these sorts of pleas for attention aside?

  • Touche.

    All right, Michael. We know now that you care about Colombia — though apparently not about other countries you don’t know how to spell. (e.g. “Amerikkka”)

    And we know that I incorrectly imagined one could refer to all the countries with coastline on the Caribean Basin as “Central America”.

    Perish the thought, however that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from these important learnings into not wanting Chavez to start a war or anything. That would be madness.

  • Michael, do you ever even listen to yourself?

  • One would hope not.

  • michael we all know you dont listen to yourself. as for this iccedient venizula should just call it off because if they do anything to the U.S base in columbia the united states will send forces to Venizula and the u.s will win. i also think that the people in venuzlia should stop because they already have there 4 guards back. nobody got hurt and if this happens again. the u.s should just leave the base in columbia for good because next time there will be a war for sure.

  • I just don’t care about Colombia. I care enough about it to spell it correctly!

    You care enough to spell it correctly. That sounds about right.

  • At least the real michael makes sense.

  • “Amerikkka” – the calling card of the Maoist.

  • “folks who actually care about the region…”

    Iafrate can read into men’s souls. What a charism. Must be another example of God choosing an idiot to do his work.

  • Actually the definition of Central America has shifted over time. For example, when Panama was part of Colombia it was not considered part of Central America, although it was always a separate, and rebellious, region of that country. Some definitions of Central America include the southern portions of Mexico. The European Union excludes Belize from its definition of Central America.

  • There’s no evidence that Michael “cares” or does anything whatsoever about the Third World poor other than to mention them occasionally as a prop on behalf of whatever lefty cause he’s supporting as to relatively richer North Americans.

  • He could have also said: United $nakes of Amerikkka as an acceptable alternative.

  • if i didnt care. then why would i put a comment on this article. As you can see you are probably someone who lives in venizula and knows if you guys harm the base in coloumbia we will send more then 15000 men over there and beat you guys like on how we did to any toher country who tried thearting us.

  • Darwin – Are you trying to pretend that you’re against war now?

  • I am and always have been against needless and unjust war — and I see no reason to believe that Chavez invading Colombia would be anything other than needless and unjust.

  • There’s also no evidence that Michael is anti-war. The only wars he ever complains about are those in which America was involved. If it’s one of the thugs that he otherwise admires (Chavez), he doesn’t care.

  • Of course I’d be against a Chavez-started war. That goes without saying. The concerns I have raised are unrelated to that.