Some of you may know that I have mixed feelings about Hugo Chavez. I support Venezuelan economic independence from the industrialized world, and I feel that he would not be so popular if his brand of socialism hadn’t done a lot for Venezuelans that they felt capitalism had failed them in. But Yesterday was undoubtedly his finest hour: lets face it, he let himself lose. A two percent margin of victory could have been overturned without any more than the inevitable outcry about vote fraud. Instead, Chavez realized that Venezuelans still value their Democracy. Perhaps he’s learned his lesson: socialism has support, but not when linked to increasingly authoritarian government. I may think that Democratic Socialism is in general neccesary, but I hope these elections show that even people who have been receptive to socialism will not consent to seeing it divorced from Democracy.
Russia, on the other hand, seems to have chosen stability over real multiparty Democracy. Russia is definately done being humiliated by the West, that is for sure. Hopefully the increasingly powerful central government they are empowering isn’t as bad as we all fear.