Today's Story Line

If you like your politics with a conservative, anti-immigration flavor, look to Europe and this weekend's Swiss election. On the other hand, if your preferences lie more along the lines of socialismo with a capitalist coating, check out Latin America's top candidates.

Megawati Sukarnoputri's vice presidency brings a calming influence to Indonesia's tumultuous political scene.

Are Colombia's rebels really spreading dissent to neighboring countries (page 7)?

- David Clark Scott, World editor

REPORTERS ON THE JOB *HAVE ATM CARD, WILL TRAVEL: Short on cash and out of notebooks in Jakarta, the Monitor's Cameron Barr didn't have to go far. Despite violent street protests and a car bombing just outside his hotel, the Citibank across the street was open yesterday. Granted it was surrounded by Indonesian soldiers, police, and barbed wire. Inside, six security guards were filling the ATM alcove with clove tobacco smoke. Cameron withdrew a million rupiah (about US$136) with his US ATM card. But he was amazed at how rapidly the Indonesia currency was strengthening. "The election of the president and vice president was clearly restoring confidence in the currency," he says. Two weeks ago, a 1 million rupiah withdrawal was worth $117. And the notebooks? "The mall with the best stationery store was closed because of the violence," says Cameron. But the Hotel Indonesia has a shop with acceptable notepads, if you like "Doggie" cartoons on the edges.

*DONDE ESTAN LOS PERONISTAS? Correspondent Howard LaFranchi got a feel for the Argentine public's declining passion for politics - when he came upon a campaign rally for Peronist presidential candidate Eduardo Duhalde in Buenos Aires. Remembering old newsreels of the throngs that turned out for Juan and Evita Pern's rallies, Howard thought he might be in for a mob scene. It turned out to be a moderately attended rally whose booming speakers were ignored by the majority of Argentines out for dinner, the theater, or a movie on a warm spring evening.


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