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21st Century Socialism in Venezuela Halted?

hugo chavez venezuelan politics political opposition democracyVenezuelan President Hugo Chavez is now on his back foot. Can he be topped by a popular movement?

The Latin American socialist demagogue is now facing concerted resistance from opposition parties that formerly boycotted the political hyena. And as it turns out, Venezuelan democracy may have a little life left. Chavez' constant propaganda can't cover up the fact that the economy is in ruins (even as billions of dollars worth of Russian arms deals went through to help fight an American invasion no one thinks will never actually come). And Chavez' handouts to bribe the poor have not done anything to lift the poor out of poverty. He has only perpetuated a permanent unemployed underclass.

Now he's paying for it. Joel D. Hirst in the Huffington post reports on the startling change in Venezuelan politics:

Yesterday's National Assembly Election, with 66% voter turnout, saw the opposition's Table for Democratic Unity (MUD) gain 61 seats (with several more still being counted), a number that would have been significantly higher were it not for the 2009 reform of the electoral law.

These gains put the MUD above the 1/3 necessary to impede a more radicalized agenda through the passing of Organic laws (sweeping reforms), constitutional changes and the calling of constituent assemblies. It also affects Chavez's ability to appoint judges to the Supreme Court of Justice.

Not quite a revolution yet, but it's a start. Most importantly, it seems Chavez' ability to directly transfer oil revenues into a 21st century socialism slush fund (that's funny. The 21st century is looking a lot like the 20th century when it comes to corruption) is legally kaput.

Will Chavez take the hint and leave his old autocratic methods behind, engaging the opposition in real debate? Or will he ignore the result and plod ahead with his Bolivarian revolution? The only thing clear right now is that while Chavez is down, he is not out.

Jonathon Narvey is the Editor of The Propagandist.

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