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9:44AM

Wikistrat post @ CNN/GPS: What Comes After Chavez?

Editor’s Note: The following piece, exclusive to GPS, comes from Wikistrat, the world's first massively multiplayer online consultancy.  It leverages a global network of subject-matter experts via a crowd-sourcing methodology to provide unique insights.


This Sunday, the historically disorganized Venezuelan opposition movement is holding its first-ever presidential primary to decide upon a single candidate to challenge long-time strongman Hugo Chavez. With regional governor Henrique Capriles expected to prevail, the aging Chavez faces a younger version of himself: namely, a dynamic rising star promising to transform the political landscape. This time, however, the figure is moving it away from the heavy-handed populism initiated by Chavez after he swept into office in 1998.

Over the course of his tenure, Chavez’s pursuit of “21st century socialism” in Venezuela has propelled him to self-declared “president for life” status. Among his accomplishments are the systematic and brutal persecution of political opponents and critical journalists, the stacking of parliament with his supporters, various cash-payment programs to the voting poor to ensure his popularity, and - in a related dynamic - the general undermining (aka, looting) of the country’s primary economic engine, the national oil company known as PDVSA. Chavez has also turned Venezuela into one of the most crime-ridden nations in the world with the annual inflation averaging close to 30 percent.

Still, El Comandante has inspired copycat Chavista leaders in Bolivia, Ecuador and Nicaragua, and has reinvigorated Cuba’s communist dictatorship - all the best friends that money can buy.

But with the de facto dictator mysteriously seeking cancer care in Havana last year, widespread talk has surfaced that this election may well be Chavez’s last. Taking that hypothetical as our starting point, this week’s Wikistrat crowd-sourced analysis looks at what just might lie ahead for a post-Chavez Venezuela.  Here are five pathways to consider.

Read the entire post at CNN's GPS blog.

Reader Comments (1)

When the Cold War generation is gone (that's me) and the last Castro is gone then the United States may be able to deal with Cuba in a sensible manner. Tourism is the weapon that will finish off the communist experiment that has caused all the suffering in that beautiful island. I would venture a guess that it would also finish off Guantanamo as a terrorist holding tank.

We are so blessed in our country. We can go through an ordinary day without encountering truckloads of armed men. South of us it's a different story. On the city streets or the country roads, the soldiers, the police, the guerrillas or the narco gangs roam and menace the people.

Islam will not gain a foothold down there because of the Catholic Church and the other Christian congregations. The Jesuits might have played footsie with the leftists and the "champions of the people" but that won't happen with the Mullahs.

Chavez is the classic dictator. He is all about himself. His deals and "friendships" are about his survival...nothing else. It's doubtful that he would allow himself to be "voted" out. When some younger officers get tired of him that will be the end. If the cancer doesn't get first.

February 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTed O'Connort

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