October 8, 2012


Hugo Chávez's Final Act : Why his victory means Venezuela will get much worse before it gets better. (William J. Dobson, Oct. 8, 2012, Slate)

When I met Henrique Capriles in 2009, he was already being touted as the man most likely to challenge Hugo Chávez in the 2012 presidential elections. You could quickly understand why. Even though the refurbished elementary school holding the rally on that Sunday afternoon was in Chávez territory, Capriles' arrival was met with the cheers, screams, and dancing that you'd expect for a rock star, not a governor. The charismatic young opposition leader felt comfortable in his skin and his informal style exuded confidence. Though he was three years from that presidential race, he already knew how to deliver the lines that made Venezuelans from this hardscrabble corner of the countryside roar. Capriles opened by recounting a story of a worker who had recently told him that, "I love Chávez, but I love you, too." Capriles explained that was OK. "Sometimes a man falls in love with two or three women or a woman falls in love with two or three men. It's all right--it's part of life." It's OK if you gave your heart to Chávez; my arms are wide open. The crowd swooned.

But on Sunday there still wasn't enough love for the handsome 40-year-old governor. Hugo Chávez won his fourth bid for Miraflores, the presidential palace, with 54 percent of the vote to Capriles's 45 percent. Capriles did make inroads. Chávez, for example, only added 135,000 votes from his 2006 election total, while the opposition won nearly 1.9 million more votes than last time.

Time is on Mr. Capriles side.
Posted by at October 8, 2012 6:44 PM

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