Re: “Venezuelans Consider the Unthinkable: a Government Without Chavez”

Dear Editor,

Source: Karita/AP

Your June 12 article, “Venezuelans Consider the Unthinkable: a Government Without Chavez,” underlines Chavez’s declining health and the problem this will likely pose in the upcoming elections. This issue is a serious and poignant one for the Western Hemisphere, but your article does not effectively address the full implications of Chavez’s waning health.

Furthermore, the article does not discuss the history President Chavez has interfering with United States interests, including his Middle East stand, his rally against global capitalism, and frequent threats to cut off the Venezuelan oil supply to the United States.  Additionally, by implementing “21st century socialism” to prevent capitalist globalization, he weakened standing democratic institutions. While the authority of the United States in the region has dwindled, Chavez has broadened his own authority and aligned himself with problematic leaders such as Saddam Hussein and Mohammed Khatami, applauding the latter’s decision to defy the United States and go ahead with his nuclear program.

The article also fails to sift through likely election outcomes and their implications. The United States sees Chavez as a boorish radical, whose sole role is that of a barrier resisting against its interests in Latin America. His ousting could provide opportunities to alleviate a strained relationship or potentially allow a more extreme leader to replace him


Matthew Fry

Research Associate at the Council on Hemispheric Affairs