A Cool Head in a Crisis

ANDREW ALVAREZ/AFP

PEACEKEEPER: Rodríguez helped prevent unrest.

As a psychiatrist, Jorge Rodriguez knows how to quiet a patient. But while wearing his other hat — federal election official — he may have kept an entire nation from snapping. For more than a year, Venezuela's political opposition sought a referendum on whether to recall leftist President Hugo Chávez. They insisted they had more than the requisite 2.4 million petition signatures for a recall vote. But in April, citing technicalities, Rodríguez and the rest of the pro-Chávez majority on the National Electoral Council (CNE) validated only 1.8 million of them. Venezuela looked poised for another bloody round of protests —...