Although it is difficult to predict the precise course of Venezuela’s current leadership transition, it is almost certain that President Hugo Chavez will pass away within the coming weeks or months. His departure will impact not only Venezuela, but also the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), the regional bloc that Chavez founded to promote his vision of Bolivarian socialism. While conventional wisdom assumes these impacts will be mostly negative, this is not necessarily the case. In fact, another outcome is possible: A rejuvenated ALBA could take shape, one centered on a new coalition of pragmatists and restructured around economic cooperation with China.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro and National Assembly chief Diosdado Cabello, either of whom might succeed Chavez in the short term, will attempt to maintain the status quo in Venezuela for as long as possible. But change will come quickly once Chavez’s death is officially recognized. The constitutional requirement for elections within 30 days of the president’s death is not only legally unambiguous, it has become a cornerstone of the current debate. The Venezuelan ruling elite may be thoroughly corrupt, but they are pragmatic; they will likely gamble that permitting an election in which they control the machinery of the state is less risky than ignoring the requirement, given a military whose guidepost during crises has consistently been its responsibility to defend the constitution. ...
To read the rest, sign up to try World Politics Review
- TWO WEEKS FREE.
- Cancel any time.
- After two weeks, just $18 monthly or $118/year.
Request a free trial for your office or school. Everyone at a given site can get access through our institutional subscriptions.
- Strategic Horizons: In Ukraine, Russia Reveals Its Mastery of Unrestricted Warfare
- To Rebound After Defeat, El Salvador’s ARENA Must Move Beyond Fear
- Australia’s Abbott Seeks to Balance Japan, South Korea and China on Asian Trip
- NSA Leaks Fallout Will Fade Faster Than Hit to U.S. Pride
- Strategic Horizons: Amid Debate, U.S. Shares Drone Approach With Partners