BOGOTÁ – Venezuela is poised to vote on a new president to replace the recently deceased Hugo Chávez. In the 14 years of his administration, Chávez was one of the major leaders in promoting changes in relations among Latin American countries and between them and the United States. So, what will the post-Chávez era in Venezuela mean for diplomacy within the hemisphere?
A significant group of Latin American countries with leftist governments have created new mechanisms for integration among themselves, as well as more autonomous relations with the US. Traditional bodies such as the Organization of American States and the Andean Community of Nations – in which US influence is a defining feature – have weakened, making way for Chávez’s Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), and the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR).