WOLA: Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas
4 Jan 2013 | Commentary | News

Fight Crime, Respect the Poor: Priorities for a Potential Post-Chavez Venezuela

With the health of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez uncertain, many prominent voices are speculating as to what a post-Chávez Venezuela would look like. On January 3, The New York Times‘ Room for Debate blog invited WOLA’s Executive Director Joy Olson and Senior Fellow David Smilde to answer the question: “what sorts of social, economic and foreign relations issues must the next president confront in order to guarantee a smooth transition?”

After affirming that it is”important to remember that Venezuela is not a government but a complex modern society of 30 million people pushing forward with their daily lives,” the pair writes: “Chávez has been the glue holding together a coalition of political actors. The question is: Will the adhesive hold without Chávez to continue the Bolivarian socialist model? If the opposition hopes to win the next election, it will have to create a political project that recognizes and addresses the newly empowered poor, sees them as part of the solution and addresses the issues of their daily lives.”

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