By winning 54 percent of the national vote, Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez declared the election a "perfect victory." Ironically, not only was it imperfect but it amounts to an ideological defeat.
Fifty-four percent of Venezuelans have ratified Hugo Chavez as leader of their country, and Raul's regime has some breathing room. But the great polarization in Simon Bolivar's fatherland will make it more difficult to publicly sustain the maintenance of Cuba.
In 2008, I made my first visit to Venezuela to see El Sistema. By then, I had heard several colleagues' reports about the miracle that was happening in this developing country. But nothing prepared me for the powerful impact of music and music-making I experienced.
Mr. Chávez was quick to emphasize his centrist position during his victory speech. But does this mean that we are likely to see a more moderate Chavismo in the next few years?
Plagued with violence, corruption and lengthy warnings from the US government, the current situation in Venezuela has been less than tourist-friendly in recent years -- which is a big bummer considering that their country is so beautiful and their food is so yummy and healthy.
The U.S. foreign policy establishment (which includes most of the media) seethes with contempt for Venezuela's democratic process. But Venezuela is part of a "Latin American Spring."
My guess is that Hugo Chávez will ultimately prevail in his nation's presidential election, but it's still anyone's guess as to what might happen. If the race is close, Venezuela could descend into political destabilization or even chaos, which is surely a worrying prospect.
The U.S. should at long last recognize that in being the world's most important consumer of fossil fuels our market is as important to oil producers as they have been in supplying our needs.
I am not a politician. I am a musician. Far from wishing to stoke the flames of partisanship, my music is an unsolicited, personally financed, non-affiliated protest and personal expression of regret.
I wrote "The Lieutenant of San Porfirio" because I love Latin America. I haven't learned to love it naively, as some Americans say, because of its chaos. I love it because I grew up there, and in spite of the chaos.
What a shame that the hemisphere's richest country, where it would be so much easier to lift up the working poor, has moved in the opposite direction.
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Electoral experts often talk about "free and fair" elections as if they were one and the same. In point of fact, these are two different components that together make up a legitimate election.
So, where does Washington go from here? If it wants to preserve its increasingly tenuous foothold in a nation with the world's largest oil reserves, it might begin by engaging in some honest diplomacy.
Outlet malls date as far back as 100 years in the United States. Today, with 2.3 million square feet of shopping and dining, Sawgrass Mills is must-do stop on the tourist itinerary in Florida.
Now that the U.S. has preserved its strategic position in Paraguay and Venezuela has lost influence, it's time to step back and sort out what actually happened here.