December 1, 2006 [LINK / comment]

Calderon, defiant, is sworn in

Ecuador flag ¡Qué cojones! Felipe Calderon faced up to the jeering members of the Democratic Revolutionary Party in the Mexican Congress just before 10:00 this morning and took the oath of office as president. Outgoing President Vicente Fox handed over the tricolor sash the symbolizes executive authority. Calderon called for dialogue among all political forces in Mexico, but his brief words could scarcely be heard above all the noise and commotion. After he left the podium, his supporters in the National Action Party chanted with glee, "¡Lo hizo! (He did it!)" Many people doubted that Calderon would be brave enough to confront the disloyal opposition who tried in vain to thwart constitutional democracy. In anticipation of a possible violent breakdown of procedure, there was actually a private ceremony several hours earlier, in which new appointments were announced, leaving some observers to question whether the transfer of power was 100 percent by the books. See CNN.com and El Universal (in Spanish).

The fact that losing candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador applauded the obstructionist efforts of his party's members detracts from his image even more. Sore loser! Calderon chose [Francisco Ramirez Acuña,] a reputed hardliner to be the next Interior Minister, responsible for police and internal security affairs. [Nevertheless, Calderon] has a rather low-key, weak image, so he will be obliged to show that he is tough on subversion and political violence. The United States will be obliged to show him great respect and deference, which means a more conciliatory posture on immigration policy. That is unfortunate but necessary.

Hezbollah in Venezuela

Here's a pleasant surprise: Venezuela has arrested a guy named Teodoro Darnott, a.k.a. "Sheidy Daniel," who espouses a mixture of militant Islam, Marxism, and Liberation Theology, leading a group called "Hezbollah Latin America." He operates near the Colombian border. See the American Spectator (via Barcepundit). Perhaps this is related to the upcoming elections, as Chavez tries to repair his image by distancing himself from terrorism and win a bigger majority. But it doesn't allay suspicions that Chavez is actively promoting subversion and terrorism in the Western Hemisphere.