Venezuela

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Letter From,
Boris Muñoz

Like his successor, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro tends to blame his country's violence problem on inequality. Yet if the government has made significant progress reducing inequality, and if, as Hugo Chávez believed, violence is derived from social injustice, what explains the recent surge in crime?

Snapshot,
Boris Muñoz

Throughout the fall, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's party looked set to lose this weekend's local elections -- and big time. But then, he forced private stores to slash prices and urged the public to empty their shelves. That will probably be enough to hand his party a victory, but it might not ensure Maduro's political survival in the long term.

Snapshot,
Michael Penfold

Nicolás Maduro, Hugo Chávez’s anointed heir, is expected to cruise to victory in Venezuela’s upcoming presidential elections. But the easy part ends there. Once in office, Maduro will face a dysfunctional economy, high crime, and the broken political system Chávez left behind.

Snapshot,
Javier Corrales

Venezuela's United Socialist Party is already facing a succession battle between two prospective successors to Hugo Chávez: Nicolás Maduro, an avowed communist and close friend of Cuba, and Diosdado Cabello, a former military official with ties to the country's business community. Whichever man wins, he will have to remember that Chávez has skillfully relied on a mix of both strategies to win the love of his people -- strident anti-americanism and largess for the poor on the one hand, and kickbacks to big business and billions of dollars in oil sales to the United States on the other.

Snapshot,
Javier Corrales

For more than a decade, Chávez’s popularity has remained high because of his strong support from the country’s poor. But his strategies to entice the neediest have reached their limit. Now the socialist president's future depends on his counterproductive and schizophrenic relationship Venezuela's private sector.

Snapshot,
Michael Penfold

This year, there will finally be a real contest for power in Caracas. With opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez having just announced that he is ending his presidential campaign and throwing his support to Henrique Capriles Radonski -- the charismatic governor whom many expect to be Chávez's main competition -- the opposition is gradually consolidating power and becoming a more serious challenge to the regime.

Reading List,
Michael Shifter

An annotated Foreign Affairs syllabus on Venezuela.

Snapshot,
Christopher Sabatini

Some observers believed that opposition gains in last September's elections would weaken the Venezuelan president. Instead, he has consolidated control.

Essay, May/Jun 2006
Michael Shifter

The debate over Hugo Chávez has been dominated by opposing caricatures -- a polarization that has thwarted a sound policy response. The Venezuelan president has an autocratic streak, no viable development model, and unsettling oil-funded aspirations to hemispheric leadership. But Washington and its allies should "confront" him indirectly: by proving they have better ideas.

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