Amidst the brouhaha over our election next month, there is one next week (Sunday, to be exact) that could be more groundbreaking.
In Venezuela, Hugo Chavez has built a left-wing tyranny based on his personal charisma, seizure of private property whenever it suits him, ties to other antidemocratic regimes such as Khomeinist Iran, Communist Cuba, and Communist China, and finding ways to divide and demoralize his opposition. That last part of the puzzle isn’t here this time, as the opposition has united behind Miranda Governor Henrique Capriles, who might just defeat Chavez in Sunday’s presidential election.
Capriles talked to the Telegraph about the campaign, and the nature of what he confronts – and it’s more than just getting more voters to back him than Chavez:
And for all the carnival atmosphere of the rallies, there is a violent undercurrent. Chavista hot-heads attacked a recent opposition rally, stoning and setting fire to vehicles, and security analysts have warned of the dangers of post-election violence if the president is ousted.
In fact, Chavez and his “Chavistas” have routinely used violence to prop up his regime – and at least one referendum (2004) was “won” by Chavez due to fraud.
Naturally, Chavez has already endorsed Barack Obama for re-election, and is sure Obama would back him (Telegraph).
More to the point, however, is that Chavez has ruined his country (first Telegraph link):
“We have so many problems here in Venezuela, but Chavez’s priority is to create his own world revolution,” he said.
“His land reform programme (UK sp) has been a disaster and he sends billions of dollars of oil abroad each year, but there are hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans who have problems putting food on the table.”
The “oil abroad” refers to the “gifts” sent to fellow left-wing tyrants.
Venezuela once had a functioning democracy. Chavez has thoroughly ruined both that democracy and his country. I am hopeful that the beginning of the end of the Chavez fiasco comes on Sunday.
Cross-posted to Bearing Drift