Sunday, January 17, 2010

Presidential Election in Chile

   This morning we flew two hours south to Neuquen, the Pear Capital of Argentina. This city of 200,000 is the gateway to Pategonia and is fairly close to the Andes mountains and the neighboring country of Chile.  The big news of the day is that Chile is electing a new Conservative President.  The billionaire owner of LAN Chile airlines, a conservative, is defeating former President Frei by 52% to 48%.  That is big news in South America.  The voters will have elected conservatives in Colombia, Peru and Chile, the "left coast" of the continent.  Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Venezuela still have left wingnuts leading their countries.  The future economic development of the countries should be a pretty good scorecard comparing free market economies with socialist command and control governments. There are still many poor people in this country.
     Meanwhile we see on the news that Obama has travelled to Massachusetts to campaign for his candidate to replace Ted Kennedy.  They really need that 60th vote on health care reform.  As people who lived for years in Massachusetts, it is hard to believe any Republican can ever win there, but the tide is turning on big government and we could have an upset on Tuesday.  I am not counting on winning in Massachusetts, but do expect major Democratic retirements and defeats in the fall elections. This reminds me of 1994 when Clinton tried to remake health care and it destroyed his majority power.   It is interesting watching all this unfold from far, far away.  The newspapers and TV are full of stories about the American economic troubles and  how when we sneeze the people down here all catch colds.
    Tomorrow Gail and I will tour some orchards and then I present a talk at the annual growers meeting.  The subject is : The Tides are Changing : The Future of Worldwide Apple and Pear Consumption. I know it sounds rather boring, but it is a very interesting economic story and I will post a link to it for any interested readers.  Alan Groff did most of the research and prepared the Power Point presentation, so you know it is good.  All I have to do is present it to an audience of growers...  in Spanish. I'll probably get tired and revert to English. I hope a good translator is there to help me. Tonight we go out to dinner with one of our Argentinean hosts. When we arrived at the hotel he left us a little box of Bocaditos de Manzana, little soft apple candies, similar to Aplets but without any powdered sugar.  They are delicious.  Maybe we can get the recipe and start making them in Entiat?  Anyone for a Bocaditos de Manzana?   

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