Like a virus, the best way to destroy an organism is to infect it and then, propagate the destruction from within.
That is exactly how Chavez is destroying the Venezuelan democracy.
It is true that Hugo Chavez got elected by a landslide in 1998. Promising to eliminate corruption, better distributing Venezuela vast income from oil and fight crime, Chavez got the attention of Venezuelans who lived in poverty. These long known populist arguments of the Radical left helped Chavez winning the heart of the middle class and the poor. With an incendiary speech, he won the vote of the forgotten ones.
Once Chavez got elected he called for a National Referendum. Less than a year, in 1999 Chavez won a popular referendum to rewrite the national constitution. With a new constitution in place Chavez started changing the democratic equilibrium.
With the surge of the oil market, started to gain incredible amounts of money. With that money, started to corrupt the Military, Industrials, Bankers and even members of the opposition parties.
Chavez along with the “Foro de Sao Paulo” alliance with the Totalitarian Dictator Fidel Castro created the “ALBA”, Spanish for Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas. With Venezuela’s Oil Money, Chavez invested heavily on political processes across Central and South America including Brazil (President Lula), Ecuador (President Correa), Nicaragua (return of the Sandinistas with Ortega), Paraguay (President Fernando Lugo) and Honduras (President Zelaya).
The infection process in the ALBA block is the “Constituyente”, a popular referendum to change the country constitution to allow extra powers to the president and indefinite reelection periods; A recipe that is working in Venezuela.
Note: Recently, Honduras and their democratic establishment based on a strict rule of law and independent powers where able to oust Zelaya.
This ALBA block is intended create a “soviet” type of block and relegate the Organization of American States along with the U.S. participation in South American affairs.
The ALBA block of countries also established commercial, military and cultural ties with Russia, China, Belorussia, North Korea and Iran. None of them share ANY type of cultural or idiosyncratic values to any country in South America.
Chavez, grotesque and uneducated latino version of Adolf Hitler, will soon take the continent into a conflict that will divide the Americas.
A conflict that we all have to stop before it happens.