On Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez won a new term, defeating the strongest electoral challenge to his presidency to date, despite questions over his health and an opposition that has grown in strength and resolve.
Both Christopher Sabatini, senior director of policy at the Americas Society and Council of the Americas and editor of Americas Quarterly, and Michael Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, told Trend Lines that even though Henrique Capriles Radonski, the opposition candidate, lost the election, the opposition itself took a major step forward in the process.
“The difference between the opposition’s performance this time around and in 2006 is like day and night,” Shifter wrote in an email. “The opposition’s electoral strategy was smart and effective. It was just not enough to overtake the Chávez patronage machine. But the opposition, led by Capriles, deserves a lot of credit.”