Saturday, April 16, 2016

mermelada (Colombia): pork barrel spending

mermelada (Colombia): pork barrel spending

I ran across this translation in an article in the New Republic analyzing the difficulties Colombia will face after peace accords are signed.

Here are a couple of paragraphs to give you a taste of it, including the use of the term:

"The exercise of extrajudicial repression by regional elites is a tradition old enough to be considered a structural aspect of Colombian governance. Because the central government lacks the ability, legitimacy, and will to assert itself in the far-flung enclaves of Colombia’s notoriously difficult terrain, it’s dependent on clientalist party machines to maintain stability and collect votes in those areas. This arrangement has proven durable, so long as the mermelada—marmalade, the Colombian equivalent of pork barrel spending—gets spread around. But historically, it has meant that any attempts at meaningful nationwide reform—of the kinds being hashed out in Havana—are quite literally dead on arrival once they reach the regions where they’re most needed.

But for Santos, there may be a more immediate danger than the backlash of the reactionary right. The economic model that’s been built on this system of state-sanctioned bloodletting is beginning to wobble under the weight of its own contradictions. Oil prices have plummeted since the start of the FARC peace process. What Santos once heralded as a “locomotor” of economic growth is now a sinkhole in the heart of his budget. At a time when the government is essentially committing itself to massive state-building in Colombia’s guerrilla-controlled territories, Santos is passing austerity measures to stay in the good graces of Western financial institutions. Inflation is high, his approval ratings are tanking, and Colombians are being asked to ration energy—despite living in a country that is among the world’s largest producers of oil and coal."

read on here 
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