IN THE normal course of events, Sunday’s local elections in Venezuela would be of interest mainly to the inhabitants of the country’s 335 municipalities and two metropolitan districts. With the exception of the mayors of greater Caracas and a couple of other major cities, most of those elected on December 8th will have little impact on national, let alone international politics. But these are not normal times.
Opposition leader Henrique Capriles, governor of Miranda state, and other spokespeople for the opposition Democratic Unity (MUD) alliance have called on their supporters to turn the vote into a plebiscite on the seven-month-old leftist government of Nicolás Maduro. Elected by a slim margin in April after his predecessor and mentor Hugo Chávez died of cancer, Mr Maduro is accused by the MUD of having stolen that election. The supreme court and the electoral authority (CNE)—both controlled by the regime—declined even to consider opposition complaints. ... Read More