Last December — when Venezuela’s opposition demolished the ruling socialists in parliamentary elections — a lot of folks got ready for an Andean Spring.
It seemed to make sense. Chavismo, the socialist party of the late President Hugo Chávez, had mismanaged and destroyed Venezuela’s oil-rich economy. It had forced Venezuelans to endure epic lines for increasingly scarce food, medicine and other basics. It had left them to suffer South America’s worst murder and violent crime epidemics.
A recall referendum looked imminent — meaning, so did the ouster of Chávez’s laughable successor, President Nicolás Maduro. After that, the opposition was sure a new presidential election would end Chavismo’s disastrous 17-year-long rule.
Here’s what’s happened instead: Chavismo isn’t going anywhere. Maybe not for another 17 years. That felt especially apparent last week when the Chavista-controlled electoral council said elections for state governorships — which were supposed to be held in December — won’t take place until next summer at the earliest.
A day later the council suspended the presidential recall referendum effort just as the opposition was all but certain to reap the millions of required petition signatures.
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