Wednesday, September 29, 2010

South America Geography Round-Up: September 2010

Venezuelan Elections

The leftward swing of Latin America and the Caribbean can, in part, be explained by overt and covert support of oil-rich Venezuela.  Since gaining power in 1999, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has reached out and supported Left movements throughout the region.  Domestically, he has provided a template for Left-ward changing by turning the constitutional democracy in Venezuela into a "New Socialist" state.

Chavez's ideal of a "New Socialist" state was put to voter's say once again with the 2010 Venezuelan parliamentary elections.  The opposition group Coalition for Democratic Unity (which is comprised of parties ranging from the Christian Democrat COPEI all the way to the ex-insurgent communist Red Flag Party) has somewhat credibly claimed that they received slightly more than half the vote.   However, because of heavy gerrymandering and the "New Socialist" vote weighing scheme the pro-Chavez United Socialist Party of Venezuela received 96 seats compared to the Coalition's 63.  This is still viewed as a minor victory to the opposition because the pro-Chavez party now has less than two-thirds of parliament seats.  Time will tell what Chavez will do to continue his "New Socialist" revolution despite current legal restraints.

While the anti-Chavez opposition has a long way to go hopefully they can unite like the Moldovan anti-Communist parities have.

"Geography Kills FARC Terrorists Dead"

Mono Jojoy, a leader of the terrorist group FARC, was the main military commander for the Colombian nacorterrorist group.  He is will known to Colombian forces because of his mobile command warfare school of thought which has been mimicked by other groups like Islamists in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Philippines.

Jojoy was killed on September 22 during Operation Sodoma which involved 56 aircraft and 400 Colombian military attacking his mountain camp and bunker.  The Colombians found Jojoy's location by placing a GPS unit in his boot.  Geographical analysis was then used to track his movements and figure out the physical and structural terrain of his roaming area.  Once the Colombians figured out the geography of Jojoy's world Operation Sodoma was launched and Jojoy and dozens of other FARC terrorists were killed.

Network analysis, examining the personal connections of terrorists, is the primary means of conducting counter-terrorism.  However, people commonly over look the importance of analyzing the geography of a target can reap great rewards.

2 comments:

sgenius said...

Gerrymandering! I should have thought of this. I've been following news of the Venezuelan elections and noticed declarations of victory from both sides (pro-Chavez and opposition)... it all seemed contradictory, but putting geopolitical manipulation in the equation gives it more sense.

Gerrymandering is a shame for real, representative democracy - although it allows for very interesting maps :P

Catholicgauze said...

Sgenius,
So true on both points. There are some very interesting examples out there which are viewable in a Google Image search. I recommend you check out my post about a game where one can gerrymander elections http://www.geographictravels.com/2007/06/redistricting-gerrymandering-game.html