Perhaps the most revealing feature of the wikileaks publication of US diplomatic cables a few years ago is that it showed that what Washington said in public to other governments is also what is said to them in private.
By contrast, many other governments, especially in the Gulf but also in Latin America, were often revealed as two-faced hypocrites that praised each other publicly in elaborate shows of regional unity while privately stabbing each other in the back. That remains as true as ever today when it comes to Venezuela’s contested presidential election, which Nicolás Maduro, heir of Hugo Chávez, won by a whisker. Continue reading »
Only six weeks in the grave, and Hugo Chávez’s socialist dream is fading fast, writes John Paul Rathbone. Last night, the chosen successor of “el commandante”, Nicolas Maduro, won Venezuela’s presidential election, but only by whisker. Maduro – “the self-proclaimed son of Chavez” – got 50.7 per cent of the vote, versus 49.1 per cent for Henrique Capriles, the opposition leader. That compares to an 11 point win for Mr Chavez in October’s presidential election. Mr Capriles has refused to accept the result until the votes are fully audited. Continue reading »
Venezuelans may be fed up with their country’s stuttering economy, but it doesn’t look like that is going to stop Nicolás Maduro from winning presidential elections on Sunday.
As Venezuelans make up their minds whether to vote for Hugo Chávez’s handpicked successor, or the opposition candidate Henrique Capriles, recurrent problems like shortages of basic goods, electricity blackouts and relentlessly rising prices continue to complicate day-to-day living. Continue reading »
If anyone wants Nicolás Maduro to win Venezuela’s presidential elections this Sunday, it is PDVSA, the state oil company – judging by the effort it has made to support the campaign of Hugo Chávez’s heir, or the amount of people at his rallies wearing red caps emblazoned with PDVSA’s logo.
But for all that the big guns at PDVSA, not least its president Rafael Ramírez, may want to maintain the status quo, which is what Maduro is essentially promising, changes may yet be in store for Venezuela’s oil sector if he wins – if he knows what’s good for him, anyway. Continue reading »
New Year in Venezuela is a curious occasion at the best of times – traditions include jumping off chairs backwards, running round in circles carrying suitcases and wearing yellow underwear.
But with half the country petrified that their beloved leader may be about to depart this world, and the other half desperately hoping that they may be on the verge of a new era, there was less time for the usual eccentricities. Continue reading »
It was no surprise that Venezuelan bonds rallied strongly on Monday after Hugo Chávez named Venezuela’s vice-president, Nicolas Maduro (pictured), as his chosen political heir on Saturday.
An opposition candidate would probably have a fair chance of beating Maduro if new presidential elections are called – but is it also possible that even if Maduro were to win he would be less radical than Chávez? Continue reading »