If one were an irredeemable optimist, upcoming events in Venezuela and Colombia could be viewed as a harbinger of good things to come. In Venezuela, the October 7 presidential election may put an end to Hugo Chávez’s 14 years in power, along with his systematic destruction of the economy, media clampdowns, and endless meddling in other countries’ affairs. In Colombia, peace talks scheduled for October 8 in Norway between President Juan Manuel Santos’s government and the FARC guerrillas may bring an end to 40 years of war and bloodshed.
Unfortunately, neither of these outcomes is likely. In both cases, what seems desirable appears highly improbable.