The death of Hugo Chavez and his Bolivarian Revolution would have happened on its own. On April 14 and since, Chavez’s remaining disciples took the matter into their own hands and are diligently setting the stage for passing from the scene.
Days of demonstrations and increasingly harsh threats from fraudulently elected Nicolas Maduro have resulted in a curious calm, broken by eruptions of mass pot-banging and horn-honking by supporters of opposition leader Henrique Capriles. The relative calm belies what is, in fact, a chaotic situation confronting the Cuban-reinforced new government and its supporters on the one hand, and on the other, a united and spirited opposition led by the “defeated” Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
It has felt like a long, bruising fight. In fact, the campaign to win Venezuela’s presidential election on Sunday, 40 days after Hugo Chavez’s announced death, has been a short-run, bizarre conflict.
Acting President Nicolas Maduro and Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles could hardly be more different. Mr. Maduro, 50, former bus driver and yes-man foreign affairs minister for Comandante Chavez, has limited education and elective experience. Breaking the law and ignoring the constitution as necessary, he can best be described as a bland yet evil personality.
Charismatic challenger Mr. Capriles, 40, a lawyer twice elected mayor of the metropolitan Caracas municipality Baruta and subsequently twice elected governor of Miranda state, has built a solid, spotless reputation in Venezuela’s murky politics.… Seguir leyendo »
There is a wonderful spirit in Lebanon: The people and the land never give up. Despite a fractious and multiconfessional society, plus ongoing foreign domination and invasions, the country has held together. Now, with anti-Syrian Prime Minister Saad Hariri being cajoled by Saudi Arabia to be more accepting of Syrian influence in his country, the times continue to be precarious.
Seventy percent the size of Connecticut, tiny Lebanon has been the center of turmoil and controversy for centuries. Through it all, its 4 million inhabitants have managed to reconstitute their destroyed cities and shell-shocked economy thanks to Lebanon’s solid education system, national pride and extraordinary stamina.… Seguir leyendo »
Contrary to widespread pundit opinion, Hugo Chavez is not invincible. The past several months have seen a steady decline in his popularity at home and abroad. In short, his bid to revolutionize Latin America and the Caribbean, once hailed as inevitable, has faltered; the balloon of success has seriously deflated.
Since the FMLN’s victory with Mauricio Funes in El Salvador’s March 2009 presidential election, things have not gone well for the Venezuelan despot’s goal to create Bolivarian socialist governments throughout the region. The win was a fluke, as the ultraleft FMLN (Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front) recruited popular TV broadcaster Mr.… Seguir leyendo »
Long a staunch free world friend and, since 1952, member of NATO, Turkey is today the world’s 17th largest economy and dominant in a region that includes Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia. However, after generations of close relations with the United States, Europe and Israel, Turkey is undergoing complex and increasingly radical restructuring, both domestically and abroad. How it evolves should be of great interest and grave concern.
Internally, Islamist pressure is building, despite representing a minority of citizens. Poor government-military relations were exacerbated by the Feb. 22 arrest of 51 active and retired senior army officers accused of plotting a 2003 coup.… Seguir leyendo »