Moisés Naím

Nota: Este archivo abarca los artículos publicados por el autor desde el 1 de mayo de 2009. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

Nicolás Maduro y la banalidad del mal

Que la maldad puede ser banal ya nos lo explicó Hannah Arendt. Después de asistir al juicio contra Adolf Eichmann en 1961, Arendt escribió que su principal sorpresa fue descubrir lo anodino que era ese monstruoso ser humano. Este oficial de las SS fue uno de los principales organizadores del Holocausto, en el que fueron asesinados más de seis millones de niños, mujeres y hombres. Arendt cuenta que Eichmann no era muy inteligente; no pudo completar los estudios secundarios o la escuela vocacional y solo encontró empleo como vendedor itinerante gracias a los contactos de su familia. Según Arendt, Eichmann se refugiaba en “frases hechas, clichés y el lenguaje oficial”.…  Seguir leyendo »

In less than a decade, the world went from worrying about financial crashes to worrying about crashing democracies.

Starting in 2008, we were distressed over which economy would topple next, or whether the next banking crisis would wipe out people’s savings. Yet the Great Recession was not as prolonged as we feared — the hardest-hit economies have recovered, or are in the process of doing so.

What has not returned to precrisis mode is politics. Today political parties — essential to strong democratic systems — are becoming something of an endangered species.

The aftermath of the economic downturn paved the way for the success of nontraditional political leaders like Donald Trump and made viable some once-unimaginable ideas, like Brexit.…  Seguir leyendo »

Una operación violenta para reprimir a los ciudadanos que se manifiestan contra un presidente autocrático deja decenas de muertos. La represión empuja a más gente a la calle, lo cual desencadena una espiral de violencia y una acuciante crisis humanitaria. Un presidente de Estados Unidos afirma rotundamente que el brutal dictador debe irse. La Unión Europea está de acuerdo, pero ninguna gran potencia tiene ganas de llevar a cabo una intervención militar directa. De pronto, como si surgiera de la nada, Vladímir Putin coloca a Rusia en medio de la crisis y garantiza la permanencia del dictador en el poder. El presidente estadounidense queda en ridículo por su ineficacia.…  Seguir leyendo »

Today, Venezuela is the sick man of Latin America, buckling under chronic shortages of everything from food and toilet paper to medicine and freedom. Riots and looting have become commonplace, as hungry people vent their despair while the revolutionary elite lives in luxury, pausing now and then to order recruits to fire more tear gas into crowds desperate for food.

Not long ago, the regime that Hugo Chávez founded was an object of fascination for progressives worldwide, attracting its share of another-world-is-possible solidarity activists. Today, as the country sinks deeper into the Western Hemisphere’s most intractable political and economic crisis, the time has come to ask some hard questions about how this regime — so obviously thuggish in hindsight — could have conned so many international observers for so long.…  Seguir leyendo »

» Escena 1. Ese domingo Carmen se sintió agotada pero muy satisfecha. Agotada porque a sus 78 años, 15 horas de viaje en autobús son muchas. Pero también satisfecha porque había logrado votar para elegir al próximo presidente de Venezuela. Para hacerlo tuvo que trasladarse de Miami, donde vive desde hace tres años, hasta Nueva Orleans, la ciudad más cercana donde los venezolanos residentes en el sur de Florida pueden votar. El largo viaje se debe a que Hugo Chávez decidió cerrar el consulado de Venezuela en Miami. Así, los 20.000 venezolanos que allí viven (muchos de los cuales simpatizan con la oposición) tuvieron que escoger entre no votar o ir a Nueva Orleans.…  Seguir leyendo »

En su primer discurso ante el Congreso, en 2009, el presidente Obama propuso un presupuesto con ambiciosas inversiones en energía, sanidad y educación. “Esto es América”, proclamó. “Aquí no vamos a lo más fácil”. Cuatro años después, hasta lo fácil se le ha vuelto imposible. “Acordemos aquí, y ahora, mantener al Gobierno funcionando, pagar las facturas a tiempo y proteger el crédito de Estados Unidos”, imploraba Obama al Congreso hace unas semanas. Evidentemente, el presidente de la superpotencia no se debe sentir muy poderoso.

El resultado de los comicios en Italia ha sumido al país en una crisis aún mayor de ingobernabilidad, y en Israel y Reino Unido, Benjamín Netanyahu y David Cameron se han visto obligados a forjar complejas coaliciones para poder gobernar.…  Seguir leyendo »

In 2009, during his first address before a joint session of Congress, President Obama championed a budget that would serve as a blueprint for the country’s future through ambitious investments in energy, health care and education. “This is America,” the new president proclaimed. “We don’t do what’s easy.”

Four years later, even easy seems impossible. “Let’s agree right here, right now, to keep the people’s government open, pay our bills on time and always uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America,” Obama pleaded during his State of the Union address.

By having to exhort Congress to execute even the most basic functions of government, Obama — fresh off the “fiscal cliff” fight and facing yet another showdown with lawmakers over massive automatic spending cuts — revealed just how limited the powers of the highest office in the land have become.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿En que se parecen la crisis económica europea, la guerra civil en Siria y el calentamiento global? Nadie parece tener el poder para detenerlos.

Esto se debe en parte al hecho de que los tres pertenecen a una peligrosa clase de retos que enfrenta el mundo: problemas que requieren de la intervención de varios países actuando concertadamente ya que ninguna nación —ni siquiera una superpotencia— los puede resolver por sí sola. Además, estos problemas se complican debido a que la capacidad de los países para ponerse de acuerdo entre sí y actuar de manera concertada ha venido declinando.

Y, al mismo tiempo que la capacidad de la comunidad internacional para coordinarse y actuar declina, los problemas que requieren que esto ocurra vienen en rápido aumento.…  Seguir leyendo »

The scandal over the repellent way the World Bank president is appointed has obscured an equally scandalous situation: the appointment process of the rest of the senior managers at the bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). They too are selected through opaque, quota-driven negotiations that are a far cry from the meritocracy these two institutions claim to value and preach to others.

When the World Bank needs a new president — and this time the Obama administration is expected to name its candidate Friday — the charade goes like this: The public is told that the selection process will be “open, transparent and merit-based.” Then, the White House announces a name — how, we do not know — and the anointed American goes through pretend job interviews with the bank’s board of directors, who pretend to make a decision about which, in fact, they have no say.…  Seguir leyendo »

¿Qué tienen en común Nicolás Sarkozy, Mahmud Ahmadineyad y Vladímir Putin? Que próximamente afrontarán difíciles contiendas electorales. Lo mismo vale para Barack Obama y Hugo Chávez. Y muchos otros presidentes. Este año habrá elecciones presidenciales o cambios de jefe de Gobierno en países que, en su conjunto, representan más de la mitad de la economía mundial. Pero no es solo eso. Más relevante aún es que los muchos líderes que en los próximos meses deben buscar el voto popular tienen la responsabilidad de tomar decisiones que, para bien o para mal, influyen directamente sobre las múltiples, graves y simultaneas crisis que sacuden el planeta.…  Seguir leyendo »

Half of Venezuela’s population is under age 25 — meaning half the country can barely remember or imagine a leader other than Hugo Chavez.

Chavez is not only the longest-serving head of state now in power in the Western Hemisphere — 12 years and running — but he is also omnipresent in Venezuela. He speaks almost daily on television, often for hours , and his face and phrases are splashed on posters, banners and murals in every large city and along the nation’s highways. It is impossible not to see him, hear him, read him. Looking ahead, Chavez has made clear that he will be a candidate in the 2012 presidential election and that victory is inevitable.…  Seguir leyendo »

A stench of colonialism is wafting around 19th and H streets in Northwest Washington, site of the headquarters of the International Monetary Fund. These foul fumes do not originate in the fact that the powerful, wealthy 62-year-old Frenchman who until this week ran that institution stands accused of sexually assaulting a young and poor African maid in a posh New York hotel. They’re emanating instead from the strong colonial legacy that is already tainting the selection of Dominique Strauss-Kahn’s successor.

This legacy — a product of an antiquated, post-World War II bargain struck among the world’s richest countries — means that only a European can become the new managing director of the IMF, an institution owned by 187 member nations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cherry blossoms and anti-globalization marches. For many years, these were inevitable rites of spring in Washington. But today, while the cherry trees are still blooming, the street demonstrations have wilted.

The springtime protests were prompted by the semi-annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, regularly held in early April. The marchers — many traveling to Washington from faraway places — came to voice their fury against free markets, world poverty, environmental decay or U.S. foreign policy. They often had specific demands: Stop imposing unpopular economic reforms (fiscal austerity, privatization, trade liberalization, deregulation) on poor countries in exchange for IMF and World Bank funding.…  Seguir leyendo »

Every year, thousands of the world’s most influential people descend upon Switzerland in late January for five days of debating, networking, fine eating and a little skiing, too. The gathering, called the World Economic Forum, has grown enormously popular over the decades – and has gained a steady chorus of detractors as well. In truth, the meeting is neither as exclusive or conspiratorial as its critics claim, nor as world-transforming as its boosters imagine. The following myths are just a few of the misconceptions that have sprung up around the singular institution known the world over simply as “Davos.”

1. Davos is a convention for the world’s plutocrats.…  Seguir leyendo »

Predicting Europe’s growing international irrelevance has become as common as mocking the follies of Brussels.

In fact, the consensus is that within a few short decades, the weight of European economies in the world is bound to plummet to less than half of what it is today.

Moreover, in recent years, it has become increasingly difficult to find a decision made by the European Union that is worthy of applause. Today’s European project feels more like a jobs program for the Continent’s professional middle class than an ideal that sparks hope and energizes people.

The inability to effectively address the economic crisis is only a symptom of deeper problems.…  Seguir leyendo »