www.whyville.net Nov 26, 2020 Weekly Issue

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The Siege of Quepaqane - Part 2

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"Sir, I have great tidings!" shouted Botin, bursting in waving a copy of The Republic.

"I told you to shut down The Republic!" screamed Rivadivura, spittle flying as he grabbed Botin by his collar.

"Apologies, sir," replied Bot?n with aplomb. "But you should read this article."

December 6, 2020, The Republic: "Inside Rub?n Andrade's Stratagem to Precipitate a Recession: Leaked Internal Documents from the State Department Disclose Connivance Between Andrade and the U.S. Federal Reserve." Eyes gleaming with disbelief, Rivadivura examined the expos?. "In an encrypted message, Andrade implored the U.S. government to manipulate their currency, stating, 'Cubesta is on the brink of economic collapse; Rivadivura's profligate expenditure on both his prodigal lifestyle and uneconomical government handouts has triggered crippling inflation and ravaged consumer confidence. In this vulnerable state, a mere nudge would instigate a recession and drive Rivadivura's com?munistic regime to its knees; an emphatic victory in the perennial struggle against the purple poison of Bolshevism... I entreat the Federal Reserve to strengthen the dollar via any means necessary, paralyzing Cubesta's purchasing power and occasioning a recession.' The Federal Reserve and State Department complied with Andrade's supplication by raising interest rates and selling foreign assets. The increased strength of the dollar triggered Cubesta's worst ever economic crisis."

As the final beams of golden sunlight trickled into the room, Andrade lounged in his rocking chair, listening to the anguished croaks of the rotten floorboards. Suddenly, a resounding crash from the doorway sent tremors through the dilapidated foundations of the building. "Cubesta Special Forces, put your hands up!" shouted a gruff voice from below. With a startled yelp, Andrade leapt from the rocking chair and desperately looked around, his furiously beating heart threatening to burst from his ribcage. A battalion of faceless police officers wielding batons and tear gas canisters emerged through the front door, and at once they surged toward Andrade. Andrade stood awkwardly in a lavishly furnished room with a four-poster bed, a mahogany desk, an oriental carpet, and a panoptic view of a sprawling garden. Heavy steel fetters chained his ankles and wrists. The door swung open, and into the room stepped none other than Rivadivura, his impeccable clothing disheveled and sweat-marred.

"You will never get away with this, pinko! You care naught about your people, famished in the streets while you repose in your opulent palace," screeched Andrade, spittle flying.

"Oh I daresay I will get away with it, you colluding halfwit. Have you not read the latest edition of The Republic?" scoffed Rivadivura, looming menacingly over the chained Andrade.

"You're bluffing," answered Andrade, his voice quavering with fear.

"I'm afraid not, Andrade," replied Rivadivura, brandishing The Republic. "Already we have printed thousands of copies and distributed them around the city." Andrade's face contorted with horror, and Rivadivura unleashed a sardonic laugh as he watched Andrade squirm with panic. Andrade frantically glanced out the window before collapsing with hysterical laughter.

"Look out the window, Rivadivura," taunted Andrade. Rivadivura scurried to the window, and as he surveyed his palace grounds, dread manifested deep in the pit of his stomach. A crowd, thousands strong, had amassed at the palace gates, toting signs demanding elections.

"Intractable ingrates!" bellowed Rivadivura. "I give them free healthcare, free nonsecular education, free transportation, social security, and yet the rabble have the audacity to congregate outside my palace?" Even through the bulletproof glass, Rivadivura could hear their blood-curdling shouts: "Down with Rivadivura! Down with socialism! We want elections!"

"Look, Santos. We both love our country, but at this point, the end is drawing nigh for both of us," said Rub?n, his voice tinged with newfound compassion."The people have spoken. I beseech you: if you love democracy, accede to the people's will."

"I am the democracy. The people spoke, and they elected me. I will not let subversives undercut my presidency and vitiate democracy."

"Do you seriously think your presidency will endure another two years until elections in 2022? The people see you for the malfeasant politician that you are, Santos. The military will depose you and instigate a self-perpetuating cycle of incessant political turmoil. You know what happened in '30 and '78. I adjure you: call an election and let our democracy live on another day." Santos trudged to the window, gazing down at the inundation of protestors. A tangible, deafening silence ensued. Finally, Santos averted his eyes from the window and glanced at Rub?n, a stream of sentimental tears percolating from his bloodshot eyes crawled down his stubbled cheek. "For the good of my country, my people, and posterity, I will acquiesce and call a referendum," mumbled Santos with forlorn despondency. "Unfasten him," ordered Santos, savoring the guard's obsequity one last time as he scrambled to unlock Rub?n's shackles. Wordlessly, Santos offered a hand to Rub?n and together they left the President's grandiose suite.

December 24, 2020, The Quepaqane Press: "Fraga wins snap elections by a landslide margin." As the evening sun cast its final rays of amber light across the country, the results flickered across the billboard screens in the decrepit city of Quepaqane, proclaiming Abeg Fraga the resounding victor. An ensuing wave of enervated anticipation engulfed Cubesta. The next morning, after delivering a heartfelt speech, a solemn Fraga donned the presidential sash under the wary eyes of his nascent nation as the morning sun creeped over the jagged crags of the Eastern Mountains, wearily saluting the new administration with its blood red hues.


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