What happens in Venezuela matters, to the U.S. and to every other country in the region. At issue: Can the Chávez government and its movement -- the MVR -- survive, despite fierce U.S. opposition? If so, will they be able to fulfill their program of reducing social inequality and broadening participation and opportunity, without going bankrupt? Can the chavistas maintain its honesty and openness despite being so embattled? Or have they, as the opposition claims, already lost them?
I think: (a) the movement will survive any coup attempt -- just look what happened in April 2002; (b) the oil wealth won't last forever but probably long enough to finance huge institutional changes that will be felt for ever after; (c) they (or at least the leadership) are going to try to be pure, but it's tough to remain democratic when you're under siege, and not everybody is going to resist temptation when there's so much money being invested. Finally, (d) the chavista movement will continue to inspire radical reforms throughout the continent and beyond.
To find out what's up and get a sense of what may happen next, from the chavista perspective, check the text and links on The Cyber Cycle, weekly newsletter of the Venezuelan Information Office.