October 11, 2012

Chavez Proves Autocrats Can Win at Ballot Box

Clive Crook, Bloomberg

AP Photo

Hugo Chavez is something of a challenge to the worldview of many rich-country observers. His election victory this week has given him, health permitting, a new six-year term as Venezuela’s president. He’s the leading elected autocrat in Latin America and maybe the world.

“Elected autocrat” is a confusing category. According to the model that prevailed for decades after 1945, there are really just two kinds of state: free and unfree. Democracy, good. Autocracy, bad. Chavez represents a third way, one that might be catching on. (Think of the former Soviet Union and the Arab Spring.) He teaches us an important lesson: Democracy isn’t enough.

The reaction to his latest election victory is revealing. Some, a small minority to be sure, celebrate it as democracy at...

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TAGGED: Hugo Chavez, Venezuela


October 8, 2012
Chavez Opposition Still Climbing Out of a Hole
Tim Padgett, Time
Although socialist President Hugo Chávez routed his centrist challenger, Henrique Capriles Radonski, 55% to 45% in Sunday’s presidential election in Venezuela, the opposition can take some consolation in the fact that... more ››
September 28, 2012
The Hugo Chavez Cult Is Over
Francisco Toro, The Guardian
As Venezuelans get ready to head to the polls for the most closely fought presidential election of the past 14 years, one question is at the forefront of everyone's mind: does Hugo Chávez still have it? By "it", I mean his... more ››
The strong showing by Mr. Capriles is good for Venezuelan democracy, and indeed for the success of Mr. Chavez’s ‘Bolivarian Revolution’ — which might otherwise meander or lose direction without the constant accountability... more ››
October 10, 2012
Chavez: Clown Prince of a Decaying Society
David Frum, CNN
Did Venezuela vote for more of the same? Chavez does have a militant populist constituency, and it's not impossible that the final result does reflect what the voters actually did. But then, Vladimir Putin wins elections, too,... more ››