I wonder if there is any connection to the bad years that both Barack Obama and Hugo
Chavez have experienced? You think? For President Hugo Chavez, the year has been knocked by a deep recession, ever higher
crime and electricity shortages, and Venezuela's opposition has its best
shot in years to regain a national voice in an election on Sunday for a
new parliament. (Reuters)
For President Barack Obama, the year has been knocked by loss of jobs, failing economy, failed policies by a Democrat majority in Congress, an drastic increase in the nanny state and those dependent on government. The American opposition, Conservatives and TEA party participants, has it's best shot to stop the Obama agenda and turn things around, regain control from the Liberals and RINOS in the November 2010 and November 2012 elections.
Liberty at Stake in Venezuelan Elections
Venezuelans will go to the ballot box on September 26 to vote on the composition of their National Assembly. Polls indicate that the opposition is slightly more popular than the government, though two-thirds of Venezuelans surveyed want Hugo Chavez not to seek another term next year.
Their disapproval is well-founded, and opposition groups are smart to participate in next week's elections, rather than stage a boycott as they did in 2005. Simply put, the stakes in this year's parliamentary elections are too high; opposition voters must turn out in large numbers if they want to expose, and thereby help curb, Chavez's authoritarianism, according to Independent Institute Senior Fellow Alvaro Vargas Llosa.
"Given the shady electoral body, the campaign of violence and intimidation against critics, and various restrictions imposed on the news media and other organizations, there is scant chance that the official tally will match the number of real votes commanded by the coalition," writes Vargas Llosa. "If the opposition gets a third of the Assembly, Chavez will have to disqualify, throw in jail, beat up or expel a very significant number of elected parliamentarians belonging to a high-profile body based in Caracas--as opposed to a governor here or a few mayors there."
Continue reading about Venezuela elections below the fold
Beyond electoral illusions: the totalitarian regime of Hugo Chavez
Lessons from the Poor: Triumph of the Entrepreneurial Spirit, edited by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
Liberty for Latin America: How to Undo Five Hundred Years of State Oppression, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
The Che Guevara Myth and the Future of Liberty, by Alvaro Vargas Llosa
The Americas Report | Sep 21, 2010
By Luis Fleischman
On September 26, Venezuela will hold parliamentary elections. Since Hugo Chavez was elected to the presidency in 1998, Venezuela has been transformed from a country with democratic institutions to one where the president controls all branches of government. The upcoming elections serve the purpose of making Chavez look like he is presiding over a free society but in reality provide no real chance for change. In this context, it is important to understand the true nature of the present Venezuelan political reality.
Many observers, journalists and scholars have tried to define the Chavez regime. Some have referred to it as being neo-populist and others have called it an illiberal democracy. Neo-populist refers to a regime characterized by the mobilization of marginal masses led by a charismatic leader. Indeed, Chavez has established a direct and authoritarian relationship with the people and has redistributed state funds amongst the poor in order to secure their support and win legitimacy for his regime. The legislature, the judiciary and other branches of government and civil society have become subordinated to his will and executive authority. Such was the case with regimes like that of Juan Peron in Argentina in the 40‘s and 50‘s and with some differences the government of Getulio Vargas in Brazil in the 30's and 40's.
An illiberal democracy is a regime that mixes authoritarianism and elections. This type of regime uses democracy to take power and then governs in authoritarian ways.
Undoubtedly, the Chavez regime includes aspects of both populism and illiberal democracy. However, I would argue that the Chavez regime is moving beyond populism and illiberal democracy in the direction of totalitarianism.
Zbigniew Brzezinski defined totalitarianism as a system of government where instruments "of political power are wielded without restraint by centralized leadership ... for the purpose of affecting a social revolution , including the conditioning of man on the basis of certain arbitrary ideological assumptions... in an atmosphere of coerced unanimity of the entire population".  This provides a good definition of where the government of Venezuela is heading.
First, there is the element of indoctrination. (continue reading)