September 28, 2010
Between the Venezuela legislative elections and the upcoming Brazilian presidential election, it's been a busy week or two. Recently, I went on NPR's Latino USA to talk about politics in Venezuela. To listen to the program, click here here.
I just spoke to host Maria Hinojosa again today, so for those who seek to interpret the result of the Venezuelan election be sure to check back to Latino USA's website for Friday's program.
Essentially, I told Hinojosa that while the legislative election was a setback for Chavez that it would be a mistake to interpret this as a complete reversal for the Bolivarian Revolution.
1) The Chavistas lost their supermajority in the National Assembly, which is not too different from the special election in Massachusetts a few months ago. The Chavistas maintain their majority, so they're simply going to have to negotiate more now.
2) The opposition did not participate in the last 2005 election, so it was bound to make some gains.
3) One must also factor in the recession: when the economy is doing poorly Chavez's popularity goes down.
4) The president is still relatively popular but he was not on the ballot as it was a midterm election.
In this sense, this election was similar to the midterms in the U.S.: people may take out their economic frustrations on the party in power.
The real test now will be how the opposition behaves in government. Will it just say no to every single proposal from the Chavez government, as per the Republicans in Congress? That would certainly be a narrow minded strategy, and not necessarily a winning one, for the 2012 election in which Chavez will participate.
Meanwhile, I'm leaving tomorrow for Brazil where I'll be interviewing members of both the political campaigns and sitting in on the presidential debate. In advance of my trip, I took part in a panel discussion on the Brazilian election on the Chinese radio program Beyond Beijing. To be sure, there is significant interest in the election in China, and this panel proved illuminating at times. Click here to listen. Meanwhile, tune in here for more coverage over the coming days.
September 7, 2010
To read the article at Council on Hemispheric Affairs, click here.
For earlier articles, click here.