A THOUSAND WORDS - Alex Waterhouse-Hayward's blog on pictures, plants, politics and whatever else is on his mind.




 

Honest Politicians
Saturday, November 01, 2014



Centre left Villa, to his right Zapata

When as a conscript sailor you find yourself, part of a contingent of troops surrounding the presidential palace of Buenos Aires, la Casa Rosada, and through a loudspeaker you give an ultimatum to the freely elected President of Argentina to leave within 60 minutes or accept the consequences, the idea of participating in a democracy becomes a sham of sorts. Funnier still when you note that the gentle and very honest country doctor, Doctor Arturo Illía went home in a cab.

This happened to me and what was worse is that on June 20 of the previous year I, and thousands more conscript sailors, had sworn allegiance to our flag, constitution and the elected government.

But for many years in Latin America many thought that the chaos of inefficient and dishonest government could be checked with the “order” of a military coup. Many of us for years have stated that when a general has gotten all the stars available the next rank is president of the nation. Two notable exceptions ( sort of Lucius Quinctius Cincinnatus kind of men) were Emiliano Zapata and Pancho Villa who after being photographed on the Mexican chair of presidency got up and left town.

There are rumours now in Mexico that with the crisis of the disappearance of the students who were studying to be teachers in the state of Guerrero, that many are clamouring for a military order.

I remember reading in Time Magazine a column which was illustrated by a black limousine in front of the entrance to the White House. The photograph had a cut-line which said something like, “Criminal lawyer’s car, on the front steps of the White House there to defend President Richard Nixon”. While we Latin Americans had long known that only the worst of people would seek political office and that they were sure to rob the treasury, it was amazing the shock that affected so many, perhaps naïve, Americans that their president was a crook.

When Rosemary, our two Mexican-born daughters and I moved to Vancouver in 1975 it was a relief not to be afraid of policemen and to know that bureaucracy was minimal. Few in my Argentine side of the family believe that I can replace a lost driver’s license in less than two weeks and after a very short queue. Even fewer believe when I tell them that until most recently our Vancouver politicians drove around without escort.

In my years as a Vancouver magazine photographer I have met and photographed many local, provincial and federal politicians. Just a few have impressed me with intelligence and honesty.

I remember vividly when architect Ned Pratt and I walked my neighbourhood in an effort to understand the demolition of so many houses that were replaced by gigantic version of wedding cakes. He told me, “I have been going trough long paper-work to get a permit to fix my garage in my Shaughnessy home but these developers must have a direct line to City Hall. I believed him then and as I note what is happening in our Vancouver now I understand Pratt’s perspicacity, one that came from years of having dealt with many at City Hall.

While many of my contemporaries might disagree I had a fondness for the likes of  Harry Rankin, Art Phillips, Carole Taylor, Carole James, Jack Munro and few others. I liked both Sam Sullivan and the now Senator  Larry Campbell. But have my ultimate appreciation of their intelligence and honesty to former MP Dawn Black and BC Premier Mike Harcourt.

As I note the political upheavals in relation to homelessness and our city’s purported authorities in bed with developers I have come to the conclusion that none of the mayoral candidates are to my liking. I am not going to vote for the “menos malo”. I will vote for counsellors and I know I will vote for one for sure (every city needs a rabble-rouser) and that is COPE’s Tim Louis. He is no Rankin but close enough for me.

An interesting postcript to the above is that in the early 70s when I was teaching in the Jesuit Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City, Doctor Illía came to lecture. I told him of my small role in his political end. He smiled at me and said, "You were just obeying orders." Not said was how just a few years later, many in our Argentine military obeyed orders and sent thousands to be disappeared.



     

Previous Posts
No Eggs! No Eggs!

The Metamorphosis of Death & Kissed

Meg Roe Laughs

David Pay's PEP Rally For New Music

A Small Window Of Opportunity

Pray Gather Me, Anemone!

Cuernos De Chivo (AK-47s) & Richard the Lionheart ...

On The Instantaneous

The Virgin Floozy In The Tub

I remember the shapes and sizes of the water taps



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6/26/16 - 7/3/16

7/3/16 - 7/10/16

7/10/16 - 7/17/16

7/17/16 - 7/24/16

7/24/16 - 7/31/16

7/31/16 - 8/7/16

8/7/16 - 8/14/16

8/14/16 - 8/21/16

8/21/16 - 8/28/16

8/28/16 - 9/4/16

9/4/16 - 9/11/16

9/11/16 - 9/18/16

9/18/16 - 9/25/16

9/25/16 - 10/2/16

10/2/16 - 10/9/16

10/9/16 - 10/16/16

10/16/16 - 10/23/16

10/23/16 - 10/30/16

10/30/16 - 11/6/16

11/6/16 - 11/13/16

11/13/16 - 11/20/16

11/20/16 - 11/27/16

11/27/16 - 12/4/16

12/4/16 - 12/11/16

12/11/16 - 12/18/16

12/18/16 - 12/25/16

12/25/16 - 1/1/17

1/1/17 - 1/8/17

1/8/17 - 1/15/17

1/15/17 - 1/22/17

1/22/17 - 1/29/17

1/29/17 - 2/5/17

2/5/17 - 2/12/17

2/12/17 - 2/19/17

2/19/17 - 2/26/17

2/26/17 - 3/5/17

3/5/17 - 3/12/17

3/12/17 - 3/19/17

3/19/17 - 3/26/17

3/26/17 - 4/2/17

4/2/17 - 4/9/17

4/9/17 - 4/16/17

4/16/17 - 4/23/17

4/23/17 - 4/30/17

4/30/17 - 5/7/17

5/7/17 - 5/14/17

5/14/17 - 5/21/17

5/21/17 - 5/28/17

5/28/17 - 6/4/17

6/4/17 - 6/11/17

6/11/17 - 6/18/17

6/18/17 - 6/25/17

6/25/17 - 7/2/17

7/2/17 - 7/9/17

7/9/17 - 7/16/17

7/16/17 - 7/23/17

7/23/17 - 7/30/17

7/30/17 - 8/6/17

8/6/17 - 8/13/17

8/13/17 - 8/20/17