Latin America: A Setback for Chávez

Issue Date January 2011
Volume 22
Issue 1
Page Numbers 122-136
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Since 2007, the competitive-authoritarian regime that President Hugo Chávez created in Venezuela has become less competitive, and by extension, more authoritarian. This article explores the causes of this transformation. The electoral decline of Chávez’s ruling party has to do mostly with the regime’s mismanagement of the economy, heightened radicalism in dealing with the opposition, heavy-handed approach to the oil sector and lackadaisical approach to crime. The regime is in a trap. The more the government loses hegemony over the electorate, the more it responds by increasing autocratic practices, which further erodes its electoral appeal.

About the Author

Javier Corrales is Dwight W. Morrow 1895 Professor of Political Science at Amherst College. His books include Fixing Democracy: Why Constitutional Change Often Fails to Enhance Democracy in Latin America (2018) and (with Michael Penfold) Dragon in the Tropics: Venezuela and the Legacy of Hugo Chávez (second edition, 2015).

View all work by Javier Corrales