Hugo Chavez is dead; what next for Venezuela?

No link, but it’s on CNN right now. Hugo Chavez is dead. Vice-President Nicolás Maduro will (continue) acting as President until new elections can be held. Is he a shoe-in, or could the opposition win? Will Maduro be a hardliner or reformer?

Conspiracy theories involving the USA.

Yes, we infected him with cancer. Of course. We were all out of exploding cigars.

I assume our intelligence agencies are busy right this moment proving that they aren’t accurately named.

Chavez made it pretty clear he considered Maduro his successor, so I suspect that Maduro will a) win the election and b) more or less continue his predecessors policies.


Considering that he fixed elections, suppressed opposition, and created what amounts to a personality cult, whatever is next for Venezuela can only be good.

And yet there are some Dopers who love the guy.

Already started.

Screw Venezuela; what next for Obama? Where will he find another socialist dictator to endorse him?

Somewhere, **BrainGlutton **is wiping away a solitary tear.

I doubt his cult of personality will stay around for more than a few years.

I wonder if this could explain the 1% gain in the stock market today.

But only one; I’ve wanted him gone (but not defeated) for a while now – at least since he decided on a third term – just to see what happens without him. A revolution should be about more than one guy, and Bonapartist presidentialism is scary at any point on the political spectrum, and Chavez was indeed a rough player, and a crazy-asshole in some ways (banning Halloween?!).

Whatever this “Bolivarian Revolution” of Chavez’ is, the people have made clear repeatedly that they want it to continue. The question is whether that will remain true with no charismatic strongman leading it.

I’m guessing this means the only brought him back from Cuba was so he could die in Venezuela.

I’m predicting a civil war within 2 to 3 years. Or, at least 5 to 7 years of dragging its feet and major instability.

Thing is, for the first half of his presidential career he won cleanly fair and square (OK, it helped that at the time the old-order political parties were competing gangs of discredited crooks) and set in motion his “revolution” with great popular support. But soon the enjoyment of undisputed power, while a new opposition leadership was being unable to coalesce effectively (even sitting out altogether one of those early elections, leaving him with a 100%-his-side congress), began having its well-reputed insalubrious effect. The “Bolivarian Revolution” got caught up in a populist patronage scheme and personality cult, and the leaders and main supporters adopted a premise that it would be unacceptable for the Revolution to be one day freely voted out just as it was once freely voted in.

The best thing for Venezuela would be for the new opposition leadership to commit itself to that their post-Chavez offer is NOT a return to Statu Quo Ante, but will address those issues that made him an attractive alternative for a huge segment of the population in the first place.

As to what happens next, BBC says:

This Cabello is of the same party as Chavez and Maduro, PSUV - (United Socialist Party of Venuezuela), so I don’t foresee any conflict between them. Probably Cabello will endorse Maduro in the election. Probably Maduro will win in a free and fair election. And if it happens any other way, then we’ll find out whether post-Chavez Venezuela really is a democracy or not.

The main opposition bloc is UNT (A New Era), center-left/social-democratic. Parties to the right of the center-left are pretty marginal in Venezuela.

And in other news, Kim Jong-il took a much deserved weekend away from his mausoleum and shot his personal best 18 (54 under par!) at Spyglass, still proving to the world that he is Legion.

That’s what they said about Lenin too. History teaches us there’s always the possibility of someone worse coming along.