Venezuela's National Assembly elections this weekend are a referendum on President Hugo Chávez and a "proxy" for the 2012 presidential elections, says expert Michael McCarthy. They could also bolster opposition movements in countries like Bolivia and Ecuador.
Allan Brewer Carias interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman
Allan Brewer-Carias, a former Venezuelan legislator and opponent of President Hugo Chavez, says the referendum that overturned term limits on Chavez will strengthen the country's authoritarian strain but also signaled disapproval of Chavez's government.
Venezuela is trying to develop new markets for its oil at a time of increasing friction with its main customer, the United States. But a significant short-term shift in oil relations between Venezuela and the United States is unlikely.
The financial crisis could lead the United States to turn inward and ignore challengers such as Vladimir Putin and Hugo Chavez. However, in this Bloomberg op-ed, Amity Shlaes warns against this temptation and points out that foreign issues have a way of becoming immediate as well.
This report was prepared for members of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations in preparation for their fact-finding mission to Ecuador and Colombia from March 18-19, 2008, in response to the FARC raid weeks prior.
Francisco R. Rodriguez interviewed by Bernard Gwertzman
Francisco R. Rodriguez, an expert on Venezuelan affairs, says the show of force by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez after the Colombian incursion into Ecuador is an attempt to bolster his declining popularity at home.
This Foreign Policy article has an interesting take on Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, saying he is not a threat for all the obvious reasons but for an overlooked one -- his "dangerous incompetence."
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