Chavez defeated, but still in control

Dan Grech Dec 3, 2007


Scott Jagow: The people of Venezuela sent Hugo Chavez a message yesterday: We like you . . . but maybe not that much. Chavez narrowly lost a referendum that would have allowed him to run for president as long as he wanted. And it would have given him new powers to make his country even more socialist. From our America’s Desk at WLRN, Dan Grech has more.

Dan Grech: When President Chavez reluctantly accepted the referendum result early this morning, the Venezuelan opposition danced in the streets.

But Robert Bottome, editor of the financial journal VenEconomy and a leading Chavez critic, wasn’t celebrating. He says the opposition victory in Venezuela only increases uncertainty and instability — the twin fears of any investor.

Bottome says he worries what Chavez will do next:

Robert Bottome: He’s been hit with an embarrassment, and he really wants to even the score. And so therefore, I think it’s very likely that he’ll come out swinging.

Earlier this year, Chavez nationalized oil, telecom and electricity. Before the vote, he told the banking sector it would be next.

Bottome: If I were a banker, I would be very worried about the way the wind is blowing. We’ve got a long, long year coming up.

Chavez today already promised his plans for reform aren’t dead.

I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.

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