Venezuelans Send Chávez, Opposition a Wake Up Call

Venezuelans Send Chávez, Opposition a Wake Up Call

CARACAS, Venezuela -- The margin of victory in Sunday's Venezuelan referendum on lifting term limits -- 55 to 45 percent -- succinctly reflects both President Hugo Chávez's continued strength and the opposition's rise.

The government has been spinning the comfortable victory, which allows Chávez to run again in 2012, into a resounding show of support for the president's socialist project and a rejection of the opposition, which it paints as a carry-over from the corrupt liberal democracy of old. The opposition, for its part, argues that it has essentially broken even with Chávez, earning credibility and putting it within striking distance of taking back power.

Without doubt, the results give Chávez a boost and deal the opposition a blow after the latter's modest but significant gains in November state and local elections. (See Anastasia Moloney's WPR Briefing.) But for both sides, the results may be the wake-up call they needed. While they show that Venezuela's political landscape is no longer dominated by Chávez, neither is it as evenly divided as the opposition claims. But Sunday's voting does indicate that the opposition is slowly bridging the gap and becoming more competitive.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review