Venezuela: After Betancourt

In the past five years, Venezuela's strong-willed President Romulo Betancourt has held his volatile nation together mainly through the force of his bulldog personality. But Betancourt is constitutionally barred from succeeding himself when his term ends next December. What then? Last week Betancourt's Acción Democrática, the country's biggest party, nominated a candidate to carry on. He is Rául Leoni, 57, the party president, an old crony of Betancourt's and, like him, a onetime revolutionary turned democratic reformer.

From their looks, the two might be brothers. Both are bald and portly; in their rabble-rousing university days, they shared each other's clothes, spent...

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