I am still trying to catch my breath!!
The headlines over the past 24 hours have been focused on the election of a new Pope for the 1.2 Billion Catholics of our Mother Earth. He is from Argentina and has taken the name Francis after St. Francis of Assisi. There have been a lot of discussions around his election and how he's broken a lot of precedence. As I write this, he has begun his first day of work as the Supreme Pontiff and the Bishop of Rome by spending time in private prayer.
I have done some brief reading on him. He has been quite a contradiction. Someone who has given up the luxuries of his office to be close to the people would be quite a change. It will be interesting to see in what way the evolution will begin.
I have also been assessing the aftermath of Hugo Chavez' death. Venezuela will have an election within the next 30 days. I have been, at times, disappointed about Chavez and have commented on it here in "outsiders". I will admit that I will miss his outbursts. Despite whatever the differences, I would note that he was re-elected with wide margins during three elections. He had become increasingly autocratic and his policies will cause profound challenges for the Country for years to come. Venezuela matters because it sits atop the largest known Oil Reserve in the World.
Beyond Venezuela, there is China. The leadership transition has been finalized. What happens in China matters because it is 20% of our Mother Earth. It has profound Economic Challenges despite its' massive headway over the 10 years Hu Jianto was President. I will never forget how he and his Prime Minister spent their days deep underground with the miners. I will never forget how Premier Wen was on the plane no sooner than 2 hours after the big Earthquake to take personal charge--working non-stop. They were an interesting team to observe and study. The new President, a Princeling, is one that has committed to transform China by combating Corruption. There is no choice because the Communist Party has to make sure it justifies its' existence. China has arrived--and the World is taking notice.
Although there is a sense of spiritual transformation at hand, the people on the street in Europe are suffering ever more. One development I would be observing is how austerity will continue to work. The austerity plan in the UK is one example of where the people are increasingly turning against the Government. The Conservatives are not that popular and have already lost a number of by-elections. The coalition has so far survived--but for how long is a major question.
Also released to http://www.outsiderviews.com, March 2013