BY SIMEON TIGEL
LIMA, Peru — How did it all go so horribly wrong?
Back in 1998, when Hugo Chavez was first elected president, many Venezuelans’ expectations could not have been higher.
The burly former paratrooper vowed to end the politics that had allowed corruption to thrive and vast oil wealth to fritter away. More than anything else, Chavez gave a voice — arguably for the first time in the South American nation’s history — to the poor majority.
Seventeen years later, the economy is in shambles, and Chavez’s handpicked successor, President Nicolas Maduro, is locking up store owners and opposition leaders, drawing angry protesters into the streets. The death toll increased again last week when a 14-year-old schoolboy was shot in the head, reportedly by police.