Chavez is dead
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a friend of both US President Hussein Obama and Iranian President Ahmadinejad has died of cancer
. He was 58. Venezuela is apparently going to have new elections.
Chavez's death opens the way for a new election that will test whether
his socialist "revolution" can live on without his dominant personality
at the helm.
The vote should be held within 30 days and will likely pit [Vice President Nicolas] Maduro
against Henrique Capriles, the centrist opposition leader and state
governor who lost to Chavez in the October election.
One recent opinion poll gave Maduro a strong lead.
is Chavez's preferred successor, enjoys support among many of the
working class and could benefit from an inevitable surge of emotion in
the coming days.
But the president's death could also trigger
in-fighting in a leftist coalition that ranges from hard-left
intellectuals to army officers and businessmen.
Venezuela has the
world's largest oil reserves and some of the most heavily traded bonds,
so investors will be highly sensitive to any signs of political
A defeat for Maduro would bring major changes to
Venezuela and could also upend its alliances with Latin American
countries that have relied on Chavez's oil-funded largesse - most
notably with communist-led Cuba, which recovered from financial ruin in
the 1990s thanks largely to Chavez's aid.
There are clear ideological differences between the 20 or so groups in
the opposition's Democratic Unity coalition and without their enmity to
Chavez to bind them, the alliance could splinter.
polls had shown Capriles would beat any of Chavez's proteges. But the
naming of Maduro as Chavez's heir, and the outpouring of emotion that
will accompany Chavez's death, have changed the picture.
carried out by local pollster Hinterlaces between Jan. 30 and Feb. 9
gave Maduro 50-percent support, compared to 36 percent for Capriles.
Street investors, who would like to see a more pro-business government
in Caracas but have been keen buyers of high-yielding Venezuelan bonds,
will be watching closely.
Hmmm. Anything that gets them away from Iran (and Cuba) is good for the Jews....
Labels: Hugo Chavez, Venezuela