AQ's Christopher Sabatini Speaks About the Venezuelan Elections


April 15, 2013


In an interview on Bloomberg TV’s “Market Makers” on Monday, Americas Quarterly Editor-in-Chief Christopher Sabatini discussed Nicolás Maduro’s narrow victory in the Venezuelan presidential elections on April 14. The results of the election are still being contested by opposition leader and rival candidate Henrique Capriles, who has called for a recount and whose supporters are likely to protest if Maduro is officially declared the winner.

Maduro’s 1.6 percentage point margin of victory—the smallest since 1968—gives Chávez’ chosen political heir a weak mandate as Venezuela’s future president, according to Sabatini. “Basically, Maduro has inherited a poisoned chalice,” he said. “You’ve got an economic system that’s falling apart, he’s going to have to deal with a number of rival factions in his own party, and clearly, the opposition is not going to cede one step to him.”

Sabatini said that Maduro will have to decide whether to take a centrist approach to governing his polarized country or to “keep the loyalists happy.” Sabatini pointed out that the Venezuelan opposition won 1 million more votes than it did in October 2012, when voters re-elected an ailing Chávez by an eleven-point margin over Capriles.

“Venezuelan voters are far more pragmatic than most people believe,” Sabatini said. “Chávez just captured a certain level of economic frustration and captured their imaginations, but now without Chávez and without his charisma, you see that the honeymoon…doesn’t last that long.”

Watch the full video below.

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