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After election, what's next for Venezuela?

Venezuelan Acting President Nicolas Maduro (driving), Bolivian President Evo Morales (beside him), and other leaders follow a coffin with the remains of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez in Caracas, on March 15, 2013.

Several South American Presidents are gathering today for an emergency meeting today in Lima, Peru. They will be discussing the electoral victory of Nicolás Maduro in Venezeula. Maduro will be sworn in tomorrow, while the vote counts are being disputed.

Stephen Keppel, economics editor at Univision News, says the slim margin of victory could make it difficult for Maduro's government to achieve economic reforms.

"This will make it hard to impose big economic plans or to increase the nationalization of the economy," Keppel says. "Nicholas Maduro is no Hugo Chavez -- he doesn't have the charisma, his government won't have the same money that Chavez's had."

Venezuela is suffering from inflation, food shortages, lower oil revenues, and a government that is running out of money. Keppel says these economic struggles may diminish the country's role abroad.

"Chavez supported a number of countries in Latin America -- particularly Cuba and some other countries in Central America. That is going to decline under a Maduro presidency, partly because he doesn't have the same relationships, but also because his government won't have the same resources."

To hear more about the ongoing situation in Venezuela, click on the audio player above.

About the author

Jeremy Hobson is host of Marketplace Morning Report, where he looks at business news from a global perspective to prepare listeners for the day ahead.
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Could you please explain why the Venezuelan government will have less money? Have their oil reserves shrunk? Is it because the Koch Brothers have succeeded in getting the US govt to approve the Keystone XL pipeline to feed their Texas refinery with Canadian heavy crude instead of Venezuelan crude (jeopardizing a large part of the US so the Kochs can export refined oil to the Caribbean)? What exactly is going to shrink the Venezuelan government coffers?

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