VENEZUELA: Surprise for the Junta

As the army officers who rule Venezuela had planned it, last week's election was supposed to be a polite show of public approval, making the country look democratic enough to be a suave, suitable host at the tenth Inter-American Conference of nations next year. Instead, the military junta suffered a stunning defeat—then gave an amazing demonstration of how to break promises, kick democracy in the teeth, and cling to power by force.

The election was called to select a congress which would write Venezuela a new constitution and choose a President. To insure victory, the junta months ago planted a...

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