Is Hugo Chavez a real threat?

2010. szeptember 27. 12:24
Chávez is now supported by less than half of Venezuelans, and much larger numbers oppose his steps to implant Cuba's economic and political model.

„Debate in Washington about Hugo Chávez - to the extent that it exists - generally centers on whether the Venezuelan strongman is a genuine threat to the United States or a buffoonish nuisance who is best ignored. A related discussion concerns whether and how Venezuelans can free themselves from Chávez, should they wish to do so. Could the country's tattered democratic institutions bring about his peaceful removal, or is some kind of breakdown or revolution unavoidable? The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, has bet heavily on the benign scenarios. It hinted early on that it would engage Chávez, then quickly realized that was a fool's errand. So now it quietly shuns him - while also ignoring the evidence of his support for Colombian terrorists and tolerance of drug trafficking.

The administration's perspective may be bolstered by Sunday's national assembly elections, which are almost certain to strengthen the democratic opposition. The opposition foolishly boycotted the last election, thereby allowing Venezuela's Congress to become a Soviet-style rubber stamp for Chávez. This year it put together a unity slate and conducted a vigorous campaign. Despite the regime's domination of the media and election board, and heavy-handed gerrymandering of districts, the anti-Chávez forces may capture enough seats to slow his most radical initiatives.

Democracy, however, isn't really working. Polls show that Chávez is now supported by less than half of Venezuelans, and much larger numbers oppose his steps to implant Cuba's economic and political model (along with its intelligence service). But his pace hasn't slowed. When opposition candidates won key state governerships in 2008, he manufactured laws stripping them of power and creating parallel authorities controlled by his regime. If Congress gets in his way, he is likely to take similar measures.”

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