Friday, April 22, 2005

Palace coups, Italian style

No tanks patrolling the streets. No martial law imposed. No storming of the parliament. As government collapses go, the swift fall of the Berlusconi government has been a disappointment, an utter non-event. The real action is in Quito right now. These poor people have no water, no electricity, no telephones (or so my Italian teacher tells me. Her sister lives there). Ecuador's ousted leader has to be smuggled into the Brazilian embassy where he is no doubt being forced to samba at gunpoint with leggy latinas. Brutal savages!

Back here in this Western capital city, our fate is only marginally better. We have to endure round-the-clock televised debate. Politician lob meaningless polemics at one another, then fix their tie and pat down their hair before giving a big grin to the camera, the lovely voters back home. The truth is Berlusconi is going nowhere. It's a resignation with strings. The Italians knew this. The out-of-town media early on failed to mention that Il Cavaliere, as Berlusconi is called, wasn't going anywhere. Like me, they were expecting action. And although I had been expertly coached through every needlessly complicated twist and turn from now til the election in 2006, I feel a bit cheated. Mind you, I will be moaning like a lame pup if they (whoever they are) shut the electricity off.

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