a peculiar kind of apparent democracy in which vast meetings are held, impressive documents are written and everybody is absolutely entitled to have his say. This does not mean that he will be actually listened to.

Example: In a Mexican democracy environment, we want to design a new type of stockings. Who is on the design committee ?

  1. A producer of rubber boots.
  2. A representive of the Mexican Foreign Office, in case someone were to export them.
  3. A representative of the Mexican IRS, to properly tax the buggers.
  4. Three lawyers, but not in their capacity of lawyers: rather as representative of the Institute For Stimulating Societal Integration, the Foundation for the Improvement of Terminally Corrupted Capitalist Monopolies and the Ministry of Minor Fuckups and Nuclear Power.
  5. The technology attaché of the Costa Rica embassy in Bhutan.
  6. An engineer, that knew everything about stockings in the '50s, and currently designs rockets.
  7. A TV anchoress, that will gush on for hours about the beauty and loveliness of the stockinged legs of ballet dancers.
  8. A marketing expert from TV Azteca.
  9. Four really expensive consultants, either gringos or from a gringo firm. At least a gringo sounding firm. They are happy, because they make more than anyone in the room (excluding the Big Kahuna and the financial administrator), and they will hardly do any work.
  10. A financial administrator whose corruptness is the stuff of legend: since he is the cousin of the Subsecretary's secretary, he is heavily protected and cannot be fired.
  11. for each on of the above, a technical gopher of varying competence, from can't-find-my-butt-with-both-hands to true genius. Of course, the genius is the unhappiest person in the room, and he has the lowest salary.
  12. The Big Kahuna, that organized the meeting.
Having assembled the people in a really big room, complete with paintings and possibly frescos, someone will set up a videoprojector. Powerpoint slides will be shown. Anger will be vented. Bitchiness will be at its finest.

Possibly someone at a certain point will say:

"I thank you, Mr. Big Kahuna,
and everybody that works in this honorable institution
and the friends and comrades from other entirely honorable institutions
for allowing me to humbly make use of the powers of speech*
and provide an opinion on a subject of which I do not know much,
nay, nearly nothing at all especially if I were to dare compare myself with such stars as Dr. Foo
Prof. Bar
and the very same Big Kahuna.
Despite this, and as a representative of the Ministry of Forged Underpants and Closely-Cropped Bushes,
I feel bound to make some observations:
(here the speaker takes a big breath, and the real rant starts)

More inspired speeches, more showing of slides. A two-year planning is planned, sketchily. It is suggested that representatives of the President, and of the Guatemala Embassy be brought in on the design team: their ideas will be very useful.

After everybody has exhausted his voice box, the Big Kahuna will quietly go his office, together with the financial advisor, one Lesser Kahuna, and decide everything, in about three minutes.
The larger committee will not be informed, of course, and this will lead to many amusing misunderstandings and conflicts of will later on.

*: this is my translation of hacer uso de la palabra, a ponderous, imposing, full-of-shit expression used instead of hablar. This node springs from my experience at the Irritating Lump Company.