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My way or the highway
Hugo Chavez has all the machinery to win the election. If not by popularity, he can certainly win by manipulations!

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, looks to be facing some of his most difficult years. He is already afflicted with numerous unknown ailments as per reports and he also faces a much stronger challenge for the next Presidential election. An excited and unified opposition was seen recently on a live TV show. They talked about drug trafficking, inflation, unemployment and the plaguing lack of investment. They also talked about how they will deploy effective strategies to generate around 500,000 jobs and educational reforms. But are these rabble rousing antics enough to defeat Chavez?

Despite his misrule, Hugo Chavez’s stringent anti-American stance still has a powerful connect with the poor. Chavez also has a reputation when it comes to withdrawing funds from the state’s exchequer – as he did in 2009 by siphoning off $12 billion – for his campaign trail. Intimidating voters is also one of his favourite ways to undercut the opposition – he influenced a massive 5 million civil servants to vote for him with the politics of fear! He took rigging to a new level when he included 1 million fake electorate names. No one can dare contest them as he stonewalls all auditors (including international auditors) in the name of privacy! If, after all these measures – the opposition does win – there is every likelihood that he will debar them on some pretext. He barred Leopoldo Lopez from holding public office – when he won the post of Mayor in greater Caracas in 2008. The government has already pressed charges against the governor of Miranda state, Henrique Radonski – one of the frontrunners for the presidency! So as long as sickness hasn’t had a negative bearing on his manipulative skills, Chavez looks good to defeat multiple TV debates every day, without having to ever participate in any of them.

By:- Sayan Ghosh

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