When Is An Election No Longer An Election: The Reelection of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela

Although reports seem to indicate that this last election victory was a close one for Chavez, he still was able to win.  When a president in a supposedly democratic nation keeps winning reelection time and time again, questions begin to be asked.  One of those questions is: Is this really a fair election?

I am not educated about the Venezuelan election process, but do know that after a certain amount of reelections, the population generally begins to become fed up.  The United States amended its constitution after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was elected four times.  While there was a general consensus among the people that he was a good president and did not abuse his power in being elected to four terms, the American people still saw a problem with a president being elected so many times.  Many in Russia seem to be tired of the rule of Vladimir Putin, who has installed himself at the center of Russian government since 1999.  During his last reelection campaign there was much unrest, with many Russians showing their distaste at his reelection.  For democracy to work correctly, it seems to yearn for fresh blood in the position of president with relative frequency.  Power can corrupt.  Keeping one man at the head for a long period of time is a sure fire way to spawn corruption.

It seems that the Venezuelan people may be beginning to grow tired of Chavez’s reign.  This election was close, with Chavez receiving only 54% of the vote.  If he does not do something extraordinary this term, he may not be so lucky next time.  What are your feelings on term limits for presidents?  Do you feel that the Venezuelan people are beginning to grow tired of Chavez’s rule?  Should Venezuela adopt term limits for future presidents?

2 comments

  1. I think a term limit is a good idea but I doubt they will adopt one any time soon. If the rest of government is happy with Chavez remaining president for the rest of his life, it is unlikely that the status quo will change barring some kind of revolt.
    On the other hand, he has been president since 1999. This is the fourth election he has won. If the people want change, they will need to rally for their voices to be heard. After doing some quick searches, I have discovered that Chavez has a history of restricting free press, meaning alternative parties have a harder time getting their message across.
    A major change in Venezuela will have to come from the people, not the government, and it might be soon. Iran and Venezuela have a very friendly relationship, so if both countries are seen as some kind of threat to the United States, I wouldn’t be surprised if his government conveniently gets overthrown.

  2. There have been many Presidents of the United States people might have wanted to stay for a third or even fourth term, but there has to be a limit. If there is not a limit to reelection you run the chance of dictatorships being hidden under the guise of Democracy. Richard above brings up an important factor, if the President is limiting freedom of press then contenders cannot get their messages out to the masses. It would only be fair to have reelections term after term if the entire process was fair, but how can any country ensure fairness. It is true that the people would need to rise up and fight for term limits, but can they under the current government? It will remain to be seen what happens for the next term.

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