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Showing posts from April 22, 2013


Maduro's Lousy Start

The Economist
April 20, 2013

Hugo Chávez has been dead for more than a month, but visitors to Caracas could be forgiven for thinking that Venezuela's bombastic former president was still alive and in power. His image plasters the streets; his speeches fill the airwaves. 

The blitz was ordered by his anointed successor, Nicolás Maduro, to harness Chávez's popularity in order to win a landslide in an election on April 14th. The plan failed.

Six months ago Chávez romped to a third term with a cushion of 11 percentage points. Polls had predicted that Mr Maduro (pictured) would repeat the feat, riding a wave of chavista sympathy. Instead he won by less than 2%, and then only after flagrantly breaking electoral rules. The result demonstrates that, without Chávez at the helm, chavismo, a noxious cocktail of populism, incompetence and repression, is a far less potent force. That is the good news. The bad news is that Venezuela's already polarised society is now…