For a fleeting few years the South American nation of Venezuela and its histrionic late President Hugo Chavez made waves on the global stage. While he upended the country’s economy and exploited class conflict at home, he blamed the world’s woes on the U.S., insulted the American president at the United Nations, and exhorted other leftists in the region to challenge the prevailing economic model and follow his path to “21st century socialism.”
President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez’s hand-picked successor, already warned that if the opposition wins, “very grave things will occur,” saying a “process of confrontation” will be unleashed, vowing he will be first to take to streets to “defend the revolution.”
When opposition candidates started trying to register for the election last week, they discovered that election authorities, loyal to the government, were already barring them from running for office. And the judiciary system will offer no relief.