ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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LATIN AMERICA-Rigging in Backyard

LATIN AMERICA SPEAK to anyone in the US State Department of free and fair elections in Latin America and he raises his eyebrows. This US scepticism derives not just from the general but somewhat unjustified belief that Latin Americans are by temperament just not capable of holding free and fair elections. It derives partly at least from US vested interest in keeping in power the regimes which are not only favourably disposed to them but which at the same time accept US hegemony in the area. And as it happens, not unnaturally, regimes that qualify for US approval are seldom democratic, using the word in the strict Western sense. How could such regimes submit themselves to *free and fair elections'?

Unfinished Business

Unfinished Business G P Deshpande THE new year has brought little comfort to China-watchers. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution (GPCR) is slowly drawing to a close, but the end still seems far off. All that the Chinese official press has told us (just in case somebody did not know) is that China's Khrushchev happens to be "the Renegade, Traitor and Scab, Liu Shao-chi". The Twelfth Plenum of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China met from October 13 to 31, 1968 and "ratified the Report on the Examination of the Crimes . . . of Liu Shao-chi submitted by the special group under the Central Committee for the examination of his case". The Plenary Session "unanimously adopted a resolution to expel Liu Shao- chi from the Party once and for all, to dismiss him from all posts both inside and outside the Party". This report, however, was not published; so the document which claims to advance overwhelming evidence of Liu's treachery will remain classified for some time. The second major decision of the Plenary Session was contained in the declaration that "through the storms of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, ample ideological, political and organisational conditions have been prepared for convening the Ninth National Congress of the Party. The Plenary Session decided that the Ninth Congress will be held at an appropriate time." Here again no specific dates are given; nor is a time-limit set. However, it might be a safe guess that Mao is working for a Congress this year. Over the year 1968 Revolutionary Committees were established in all the provinces of China (except, of course, Taiwan, as People's Daily hastened to point out). The last Revolutionary Committee was established in Tibet. One should not be surprised to find these Revolutionary Committees ultimately replacing the Party Committees. The delegates attending the proposed Congress will call themselves Party Delegates, but the Party itself will be a tempered Party if not an altogether new one. Throughout 1968 several articles appeared in the Chinese Press extolling once again the central role of the Party. This might indicate that Mao feels confident that he now has a chastened Party.

EUROPE-In Favour of Non-Revolution

EUROPE SINCE the Industrial Revolution, European economic development has been singularly lop-sided. While industry has flourished, agriculture has remained firmly rooted in the 18th century, even though the tractor has replaced the farm horse and milking machines the milkmaid. As a result, European planners today find themselves trying to reconcile an industrial sector increasingly dominated by giant production units with an agricultural sector in which the unit of production is the tiny family farm. (Two-thirds of the farms in the Common Market are less than 10 hectares in size.) Not surprisingly, in view of the relative importance of the farming population, agricultural policy has been based on social rather than economic criteria. Faced with a decline in agricultural incomes (in relation to incomes in the manufacturing and service sectors of the economy) governments have resorted to a series of protectionist measures, such as price support programmes, in order to prevent the gap between farm and urban incomes from becoming too great. Higher food prices have inevitably had an unfortunate effect on production costs in industry, even while making it possible for industry to find a growing rural market for its output.

HONG KONG-Dear Tantrums

nearly 98 per cent of the votes already counted, the Prime Minister's party accounts for 55 per cent and Jagan's 37 per cent. Of the foreign votes actually cast, Burnham's percentage is almost 94 per cent. Not for nothing was Burnham bouncing with confidence, once he had his foreign supporters registered as voters.
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