12

Rebuilding Venezuelan Democracy

SANTIAGO – Excitement, anxious young faces, the sense of a nation’s best and brightest coming together for a noble cause: the scene was an office building in Caracas, Venezuela, in July 2012. But, to a Chilean like me, it could have been Santiago in October 1988. The campaign headquarters of opposition presidential candidate Henrique Capriles feels and looks a lot like the headquarters of the “No” campaign against Chile’s military dictator of a quarter-century ago, Augusto Pinochet.

Back then, very few people outside Chile thought that a ruthless dictator could be removed through the ballot box. But the democratic opposition prevailed in the 1988 plebiscite, and Pinochet had to go.