Venezuelans vote on Hugo Chavez's successor today. The American Enterprise Institute's Roger Noriega with a brief summary of what to expect:
Chávez’s anointed successor will not secure an uncontested mandate over his democratic opponent, Henrique Capriles Radonski, and this contested election will trigger a period of instability and uncertainty for the ruling party.
The chavista political machine will have to perform flawlessly to fabricate a numeric victory for the regime, and, if the results are close, they will provoke the opposition to reject the unfair process and expose Maduro’s weakness to his enemies within the ruling party.
The one thing the five-week campaign has proven is that Maduro does not have the intelligence or political weight of his predecessor to handle an opposition that is emboldened, an economy that is collapsing, and a ruling party that is bitterly divided.
Juan Cristobal Nagel pays homage to the tireless Henrique Capriles:
I was talking to some middle-aged Chilean ladies the other day, and they were asking me about Capriles as if he was Brad Pitt. There is an aura to him, and it’s hard to explain, so let’s just leave it at that. It’s simply … charisma.
Capriles is a star alright, but the right kind. His charisma is born out of hard work, sweat, and tears. Out of making lemonade out of life’s lemons.
And Francisco Toro cites a commenter on the courage of those who vote against their direct interests in favor of strengthening Venezuela:
Look at this data from the CNE: 8 persons in the Hipodromo, a shelter for people who lost their homes to flash flooding, voted for Capriles in October. This is an enormous act of civic duty and courage, voting against the threat of losing your housing and the opportunities of a better life.