Supporters of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro  FEDERICO PARRA/AFP/Getty Images

Saving Venezuela

Nearly two decades after the election of Hugo Chávez, the country he mismanaged has become a prison of poverty, repression, and seething popular anger. As Chávez's ghost haunts Latin America's most troubled state, the region's governments must respond forcefully.

CARACAS/LIMA – On December 6, 1998, Hugo Chávez was elected president of Venezuela. The effects of that vote – which most agree was the last free and fair vote in that country – are still being felt.

Upon securing the presidency, Chávez wasted no time selling Venezuela’s sovereignty to Cuban interests. Every attempt to counter the regime’s brutality was met with repression, imprisonment, starvation, and forced exile. From the judiciary to the electoral commission, the regime’s control of the state became total and uncompromising – an outcome that Venezuela’s Latin American neighbors did nothing to resist.

When oil prices skyrocketed, the windfall was stolen and squandered. By the time the bonanza ended, Chávez’s handpicked successor, Nicolás Maduro, was in charge. Less cunning than his mentor, he has maintained his grip on power by becoming a dictator, subjecting the country to his will and that of the ruling elite. Maduro’s regime has bankrupted the economy, destroyed the oil industry, and impoverished everyone except himself and his cronies.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To access our archive, please log in or register now and read two articles from our archive every month for free. For unlimited access to our archive, as well as to the unrivaled analysis of PS On Point, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/25eJSZP;

Handpicked to read next

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.