Two Blows Against Illiberal Democracy
The pool of contenders for the title of “world’s worst elected government” just got a little smaller. Not only has Argentina now escaped 12 years of arrogant autarchy under Néstor and Cristina Kirchner; a stunning defeat in parliamentary elections should mark the beginning of the end for 16 years of chavismo in Venezuela.
SANTIAGO – The number of elected governments competing to be the world’s worst has now fallen by two. Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe remains in office, as does Hungary’s Viktor Orbán. Poland is slipping into illiberalism, and regimes stretching from North Africa to the Hindu Kush are already there.
But 12 years of arrogant autarchy under Néstor and Cristina Kirchner have just ended in Argentina. And a stunning defeat in parliamentary elections surely marks the beginning of the end of 16 years of churlish chavismo in Venezuela. That is cause enough for cheer.
In Venezuela, all cards were stacked in favor of President Nicolás Maduro, Hugo Chávez’s hand-picked successor: arbitrary imprisonment of opposition leaders, intimidation of anti-government protesters by thuggish gangs, and what Human Rights Watch politely called “aggressive steps to reduce the availability of media outlets that engage in critical programming.”