Latin King: How did a Weakened Chávez Retain Venezuela's Presidency?

David Ferndez / EFE / ZUMA Press

Chávez celebrates his victory on Oct. 8

Despite the dreams and expectations of democrats the world over, the era of Hugo Chávez in Venezuela did not come to an end on Oct. 7. The ailing President was re-elected, for the third time, to a new six-year term, which, if he serves it out, will have kept him in office for 20 years. Health permitting, he will become the longest-serving, more or less democratically elected President in Latin American history. Not a minor achievement.

His margin of victory — more than 1.5 million votes, or nearly 11% of the ballots cast — was large...

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