As everybody that follows Latin America knows by now, Hugo Chavez has pulled off another electoral victory. He's wielded the power of incumbency in a centralized economic state like a pro and benefited from the loyalty of increased state sponsored projects - not something that any incumbent can disitance themselves from. I think, however, that he did himself and Venezuela a disservice on two fronts.
1) By choosing to run again he provokes a reaction that will dramatically seek to overturn his policies - which would undermine his entire project. He also stifles a second tier of leadership that could replace him and creates another personalist regime in Latin America - and those are hit and miss on the legacy front.
2) Getting to the top required flinging a lot of mud - and he's going to have to work over time to clean that up. For a comparison of Chavez to Mitt Romney, see this short commentary by the NY Magazine.
Is Venezuela a Model for Cuba?
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