President Hugo Chavez used the power of the presidency and the armed forces in order to win passage of a referendum which, in effect, allows him to run again and again and again until he drops dead. Of course, these “victories” represent the spirit of democracy as embodied in the words of the president-for-life who believes he alone is capable of guiding the nation forever and forever. Despite the power of incumbency and a government which did as he ordered, the president only secured 54% of the vote which indicates there are strong feelings against him. He literally bought his way to victory by handing out large sums of money in projects and programs designed to win over wavering voters.
Venezuela allowed a bombastic egotistic individual to frighten people with tales that everything they have will be taken away if he loses. Democracy requires change in office in order to allow fresh ideas and honest examination of what has been going on. We can expect Chavez will now use his power to weaken even further democratic voices in his county.