Venezuela: preserving or imperiling reform?

I'm impressed by the argument of Venezuela Beyond the Referendum by Nikolas Kozloff. By identifying his "Bolivarian revolution" so strongly with himself, Hugo Chávez may be putting the whole operation -- the re-orientation of the country's wealth toward solving the problems of the poor -- in peril. He has also alienated a lot of people who had been, and wanted to be, allies, but who disagreed with him on some issue or strategy.

This happened in Cuba, too: people who considered themselves revolutionaries and strongly supported what we all understood were the basic principles of the revolution were driven into exile or even into armed resistance (the case of Gutiérrez Menoyo, the most famous example) because of some disagreement with Fidel Castro. Or, mainly, because they wanted different voices to be heard. Fidel survived all those mutinies; Hugo may not be so fortunate. How much better it would be if revolutionary socialists really practiced the democracy they preach. They might still make mistakes, but the mistakes would be shared. And talented, energetic people with independent minds could contribute to the common goal.

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