Venezuela rings in its official presidential election campaign this Sunday. President Hugo Chávez and Henrique Capriles, the candidate of the united opposition, have both registered as candidates. The coming months could prove to be Chávez’s toughest yet. They could also put the country on edge as uncertainties over his health lay bare its fragility and ill-preparedness for a potential transition.
Under normal circumstances, Chávez would not have much to fear. He still enjoys the support of many Venezuelans who perceive that their lives have improved under his Bolivarian revolution. With strong emotional ties to his core constituency, the president has successfully distanced himself from governance problems — such as exorbitant crime rates — even as popular support for his administration weakens.… Seguir leyendo »