The conventional wisdom is that President
After Chavez's victory, which will allow him to rule until 2019, most of his supporters and critics seem to agree that his victory will re-energize his followers throughout
In a telephone interview from
"This election will have a much more profound impact on the continent than what the Bolivarian Revolution has already had," Valero told me. "This is a revolution, and this is a victory that may even impact other continents, such as
Chavez's victory will "give a new impulse" to several Latin American diplomatic groups that were born since the Venezuelan president took office 14 years ago, such as the
The start of Chavez's third term in 2013 will coincide with
Will the fact that a significant 45 percent of Venezuelans voted for the opposition - despite an uneven race in which Chavez virtually controlled television time and used massive state resources to buy votes - lead the president to reach out to the opposition, or will he radicalize his revolution, I asked Valero.
"The message from the Venezuelan people is that we need to move forward in the construction of an egalitarian society," Valero said.
My opinion: Chavez will undoubtedly get a political boost from his election victory at home and abroad, but his momentum will not compare to the clout he had a few years ago.
First, one of the most remarkable things of
Despite 14 years of near absolute powers, Chavez is much weaker today than he was in the 2006 presidential elections, when the opposition got only 36 percent of the vote.
Second, all politics is local, and Chavez's victory will not automatically translate into a growing club of presidents-for-life. In a few months, Chavez's victory will be a distant memory in most countries.
Third, and most important, Chavez's influence at home and abroad is directly proportional to world oil prices, and there are no signs that oil prices will soar anytime soon.
When Chavez took office, oil was at
Now, with oil prices back to about
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