This Sunday's presidential election between Chávez and challenger Henrique Capriles is crucial for the country, as any victory is bound to have lasting consequences.
If Chávez were to triumph in the polls, Venezuelans would embark on a path that would lead to further encroachment on the private sector and increased similarities to Communist Cuba. Chávez has already warned he will increase the presence of the military and of Communal Councils in the lives of Venezuelans. He is sure to interpret a triumph in the polls as an endorsement of his policies of expropriation and socialist experimentation. Freedom of the press and movement will probably be eroded.