The Looming Elections in Venezuela

In this November 13 photo provided by Miraflores Palace (the official workplace of the President of Venezuela), Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro and his wife Cilia Flores pose for a "selfie" with supporters during an event where government houses are distributed to low-income beneficiaries in Maracaibo. Via Reuters. ( )
Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

One of the best things about a blog is how readers become correspondents. Here’s Tim:

1) Thank you for Notes! My bookmarks had a giant hole where The Dish used to be. Last week, I happily added “Notes” and it fits like an old shoe.

2) I live in Venezuela. In two weeks there will be elections, where the ruling party (the Chavistas) will get routed. Then, there is a good chance they will not surrender their power. In any case, if you could direct some of The Atlantic’s brainpower and spotlight down here, it’d be appreciated. Venezuela perfectly encapsulates the failure of the left in Latin America, and it’s a huge blow for command economies and socialism in the region. Relevant facts:

The reader concludes that there’s a “50 percent chance Venezuela is about to become a military dictatorship.” If you have something to add to the story, especially if you live in Venezuela, drop me an email. Update: Some critical pushback from a reader who’s an academic and self-described socialist:

When you do things like print that email about Venezuela uncritically, with no additional context, with no pushback, and no hint of the class composition of the divide in that country, you’re epitomizing everything wrong with the magazine you write for. Why don’t you check out the work of someone like Greg Grandin and try and restore a semblance of interest in why the Chavez government was often so wildly popular among average (read: not the kind who would ever write in to The Atlantic) Venezuelans?

The Nation’s Grandin wrote a long piece in early 2013 on the legacy of Hugo Chávez:

Yes, the Venezuelan president could be a strongman. But he leaves behind what might be called the most democratic country in the Western Hemisphere.

Two more pieces from Grandin, published this year: