The short-run future of post-Hugo Chávez Venezuela is uncertain. With the chavista presidential candidate Nicolas Maduro claiming a razor-thin victory over his democratic opponent, the election result could produce a governability crisis in a country already wracked by political polarization, economic collapse, food shortages, power outages, and criminal violence. The international community — particularly in Washington — avoided confrontations with Chávez. However, failing to stand with democratic elements today could result in a missed opportunity to give the Venezuelan people a chance to recover their country and their future.
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Recent revelations about secret dealings by El Salvador’s ruling party with street gangsters and international narcotraffickers have many in that country worried that they may be drifting toward the lawlessness that has spawned chaos in Venezuela.
What motivates people to demonstrate in central squares, day after day and week after week, against repressive regimes at the risk of life and limb? It's a question raised most recently by events in Ukraine and Venezuela.
With elections approaching in Honduras, El Salvador, and elsewhere in Latin America, self-interested candidates from the left and the right — some with well-known ties to criminals — seek to wield power at their countries’ expense. AEI has convened a panel to expose this problem and to propose remedies.
Imagine if The Godfather character, Don Vito Corleone, died and left his hapless son, Fredo, in charge of the family business. That is essentially what happened in Venezuela when the caudillo Hugo Chávez died last year and Nicolás Maduro took power.