In the wake of a close electoral race launched hastily after Hugo Chavez’s death in March, Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro finds himself facing a nation taut from the reactionary smoke-and-mirrors conflict surrounding the legitimacy of his 1.8% margin victory.
Regional elections do not usually attract international media headlines. But Sunday’s gubernatorial race in Venezuela was not a typical regional election. This was the first time since Chávez came to power in 1999 in which he was unable to actively campaign in an election.
On December 8, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez announced that his cancer has returned. Unlike past announcements, this time around Chávez publicly acknowledged that his odds of survival may not be great. Chávez took the astonishing, and quite unprecedented, step of naming a successor, foreign secretary Nicolas Maduro.
The U.S. government has denounced the recent legitimate presidential election in Nicaragua, while supporing flawed elections in Haiti and Honduras over the last two years. While this U.S. policy may appear baffling, it begins to make sense when you consider the long-standing U.S. political agenda in the region.
On Sunday, voters in Nicaragua and Guatemala chose their country’s next presidents. In Nicaragua, President Daniel Ortega sailed to victory and a third term. In Guatemala, retired general Otto Perez Molina was elected despite concerns over his involvement in human rights violations during the former military regime.
Argentine president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner is poised to cruise to victory in the country’s presidential elections this Sunday. Although Fernández may now be riding a wave of success, she’s come a long way from the problematic first few years of her administration.