May 25,2006 | BOGOTA, Colombia -- Colombia stands out as an oasis of conservatism amid Latin America's growing legion of leftist leaders and Sunday's elections are unlikely to change that with President Alvaro Uribe expected to win by a landslide.
But a last-minute surge by a leftist candidate nicknamed "Santa Claus" has provided the lone surprise in a campaign dominated by Uribe, Washington's staunchest ally in the region.
Colombia's democratic left, long blemished by its association with the four-decade-old guerrilla insurgency, has been invigorated by the surprise performance of Sen. Carlos Gaviria, the candidate for the Alternative Democratic Pole party, or PDA.
Unknown to half of Colombians just a few months ago, the academic and former head of Colombia's highest court has leapfrogged past Liberal Party candidate Horacio Serpa to move into second place. Since March, polls show that support for Gaviria has tripled to 24 percent.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
We might soon have more money to spend on Iraq. Or maybe on our remaining allies in the Americas, like, um . . . um, Belize?