It’s going to be a news-packed 15 Minutes on Latin America, since I’ll be talking about the APEC Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Lima, Peru taking place yesterday and today; Lula’s terrorist chief of staff who’s planning on running for office, and Sunday’s upcoming Venezuelan governorship elections:
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s allies may lose elections this weekend in a third of the country’s states and dozens of cities four years after winning near-total control of the regional governments.
Chavez may respond by grabbing more power for himself, continuing on a path toward centralized control that critics say borders on authoritarianism.
“Chavez is autocratic and doesn’t want to share power,” said Milos Alcalay, 63, Venezuela’s former ambassador to the United Nations. “He’s already said he will try to put new structures above and below opposition governors.”
A majority of Venezuelans still support Chavez, 54, a charismatic leader who took the presidency in 1999 promising to empower the poor. His party won control of all but two of the country’s 23 states in 2004.
Now many voters are souring on his socialist political project as oil revenue plunges, development projects get delayed and crime spirals upward. Last year, voters narrowly defeated a constitutional overhaul that would have abolished term limits that require him to relinquish the presidency in 2013. Polling firm Datanalisis has projected opposition parties have a chance at winning as many as eight governorships this year as voters grow restive.
“If they evaluated the job that regional governments have done, and the majority of them are pro-Chavez, it doesn’t look good” for Chavez, Luis Vicente Leon, a Datanalisis pollster.
Scrambling to regain lost ground, Chavez has been holding campaign rallies almost every day for a month in states and cities with tight races and denouncing his opponents as corrupt betrayers of his socialist revolution.
Chat’s open by 9:45AM and the call in number is 646 652-2639. You can also subscribe to the podcast’s feed and through iTunes and listen to the archived podcasts at your convenience!
You can listen to the podcast here