Venezuela Needs a Violeta Chamorro
Chavez facing one of the worst political moments of his presidency
In recent weeks, things have gone from bad to worse for Chávez.
Most international media predict growing troubles for Chávez in September's legislative elections and in the 2012 presidential elections.
Not surprisingly, Chávez is stepping up authoritarian measures
and is reacting with characteristic bravado. On
A new nationwide poll by the Venezuelan firm Hinterlaces shows that Chávez's political base is shrinking. Among the key findings of the poll, conducted in November, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points:
-- Sixty-one percent of Venezuelans think that the country is heading in the wrong direction, while 37 percent say it is going in the right direction.
-- Seventy-eight percent of Venezuelans say they disagree with Chávez's recent decision to pull the independent RCTV station off the cable television system, while only 18 percent agreed. RCTV's open air network was closed down by the government in 2007.
-- Sixty-one percent of Venezuelans support the anti-Chávez student protests, while 30 percent reject them.
-- Eighty-seven percent of Venezuelans do not want their country to
-- Twenty-eight percent of Venezuelans say they will vote for pro-Chávez candidates in September's legislative elections, while 26 percent say they will vote for opposition candidates, and 34 percent for independent candidates.
-- Chávez's approval rate has gone down from 51 percent in
-- Fifty-five percent of Venezuelans describe themselves as "neither pro-Chávez, nor anti-Chávez," while 27 percent consider themselves pro-Chávez, and 14 percent describe themselves as "oppositionists."
-- Seventy-five percent of Venezuelans say that the country needs new leaders, while 21 percent disagreed with that statement.
Venezuelans are suffering from "charismatic fatigue," the poll's analytical section says. They are increasingly skeptical about both Chávez's ideological rhetoric, and of opposition leader's anti-Chávez's speeches.
Chávez's strategy will be to deepen the country's polarization, stepping up his campaign of "idealization of poverty" to prop up the poor's "socialist class" identity, while at the same time stigmatizing opposition leaders as oligarchs who would restore the old order, it says.
"President Chávez's greatest strength is the absence of an
alternative," the report says. "There is an emerging majority that is
not happy with the present, but doesn't want to return to the past
In a telephone interview, Hinterlaces President
My opinion: Chávez is more vulnerable than ever in recent years, and -- barring a major hike in oil prices -- his regime's corruption and chaotic management will turn things worse. His plan will be, as they say in Spanish, huír para adelante (fleeing forwards) perhaps even fabricating a self-coup to cancel the upcoming legislative elections.
But to oust Chávez in 2012,
It could be somebody like
President Porfirio Lobo Might Put End to Honduran Crisis
Honduran President Porfirio Lobo's inauguration was a pretty lonely affair, with most Latin American presidents shunning the ceremony because of the country's 2009 coup. But judging from what I'm told by key Latin American and U.S. officials, Lobo's isolation won't last long.
- Chile's Sebastian Pinera Unlikely to Be South American Silvio Berlusconi
- Corruption Puts Argentines in Sour Mood
- Latin America's Economy Risks a Chicken's Flight in 2010
- Latin America: For Trade, Obama Doesn't Look South
- Latin America: For Chavez, Money no Longer Buys Love
- U.S. May Take New Look at 'War on Drugs'
- Brazil, United States, OAS Flunked Honduras Test
- New Corruption Ranking Says a Lot
- Latin America Sends Few Students to United States
- Latin America: Street Blockades Breed 'Anything-Goes' Culture
- Economic Risk in 7 Countries Spooking Investors
- Earthquake Buries Progress in Haiti
- Beyond Haitian Relief Effort, How to Fix Haiti
- Haiti Needs a Version of the Marshall Plan
- Tough Love Only Long-Term Cure for Haiti
(c) 2010, The Miami Herald DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES