By Michael McCarthy of Johns Hopkins-SAIS
So, the chavista revolution continues: interim president Nicolás Maduro has defeated opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski by 7,505,338 votes (50.7 per cent) to 7,270,403 (49.1 per cent) in Venezuela’s presidential election. But as the late Hugo Chávez liked to say in a different context, the revolution continues por ahora (for now). Continue reading »
One of the things Hugo Chavez will be remembered for is his spontaneous, freewheeling style of government. But in his enthusiasm for imitating the late Comandante, down to singing at political rallies despite not quite having the voice for it, his successor Nicolás Maduro might be going a bit too far. Continue reading »
By Roderic Wye of Chatham House
Does the death of Hugo Chávez risk seriously undermining China’s position in Venezuela? China’s apparent obsession with energy security led it to invest heavily in energy and in other sectors in Venezuela in the last decade or so. At a time when other foreign investment in Venezuela was falling rapidly, China’s was growing almost exponentially. But was it committing too much to one relationship, which would be vulnerable to a change in regime and necessitate a rapid change in China’s policy? The answer is probably no. Continue reading »
By Paulo Sotero of the Woodrow Wilson International Center
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff declared three days of official mourning in honour of her late Venezuelan colleague Hugo Chávez Frias, who died on Tuesday in Caracas after a two-year public battle with cancer. “We recognize a great leader, an irreparable loss and above all a friend of Brazil, a friend of the Brazilian people,” she said before leading a minute of silence at a meeting with rural leaders in Brasília carried live on national television.
There was, however, an uncharacteristic twist in Rousseff’s expression of condolences. “On many occasions,” she noted, “the Brazilian government did not agree” with the policies of the Bolivarian leader. Insiders say this was not an extemporaneous remark, but a pre-planned statement calibrated for domestic and international consumption. Continue reading »
The 7km queue of Venezuelans hoping to catch one last glimpse of Hugo Chávez resting in his coffin before his funeral tomorrow was a striking measure of the devotion among his adoring supporters.
But even those who didn’t exactly see eye to eye with the revolutionary leader while he was alive rushed to offer their condolences. Thursday’s newspapers were bulging with extra pages to fit in all the messages from private companies that Chávez so often scolded. Continue reading »
There’s a risk that Venezuela will default, but really it won’t. That’s the thinking that drives the market in the Bolivarian Republic’s sovereign bonds. Investors charge hefty interest to buy debt issued by the chavista government because it does market-unfriendly things like appropriating foreign companies. But they know it won’t default, because it can’t afford to be shut out from international markets.
Really? Continue reading »
By Diego Moya Ocampos of IHS
Hugo Chávez’s death is a game changer in Venezuela and will inevitably bring a reorganisation of the political order. It creates a power vacuum that will be hard to fill and a political crisis could take place should vice president Nicolas Maduro, Chávez’s appointed successor, fail to guarantee continuity for the Chavismo movement. Continue reading »
So Hugo Chávez is dead. Now what?
It’s still early days. But one thing to keep an eye on is what Big Oil’s reactions could be.
Remember, Venezuela has the world’s largest oil reserves in the world. The country has proven oil reserves of 297.6bn barrels at the end of 2011, compared to Saudi Arabia’s 265.4bn barrels, according to data from Opec. Continue reading »
Hugo Chavez has died from complications related to cancer, Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s vice president said on Tuesday.
More to come on ft.com and beyondbrics
News that Hugo Chávez’s health has taken a turn for the worse didn’t solicit much of a reaction from the markets. Prices on Venezuela’s dollar sovereign bonds barely budged on Tuesday. Could that be because after nearly three months of twists and turns, investors have pretty much decided that the end of Chávez is near? Continue reading »
The problem may have gone largely unnoticed in Caracas, where everyone is fixated by the ongoing Hugo Chávez drama, but Venezuelans living in the provinces are getting fed up with blackouts that inconvenience their everyday life.
If Hugo Chávez really is as ill as many fear and has to step down from power soon, his designated successor Nicolás Maduro should be worried about this, since electricity failures tend not to play in the ruling party’s favour at elections. Continue reading »
Most Venezuelans have probably lost count of how many times Hugo Chávez has triumphantly returned from Cuba after cancer treatment, having travelled between Caracas and Havana seemingly endlessly since first announcing he was ill in June 2011.
But this time was different: not a camera was in sight when he arrived in the dead of night, at 2.30am on Monday. Continue reading »
It was about time, too. So shrouded in secrecy is the Hugo Chávez cancer saga that rumours and theories had long since trespassed into the territory of the absurd – some had begun to suspect that he was actually in a cryogenic freezer, while others thought that he had just made the whole cancer thing up to get away from it all for a little while.
But no: he’s alive, he’s in Cuba, and by the looks of things he’s had a bruising battle with cancer over the last couple of months, if the photographs released today by the Venezuelan government are to be believed. Continue reading »