Venezuela Slowly Turning Against Chavez

Crime is up, the economy is underperforming
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2008 5:04 PM CST
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, center, speaks to journalists upon his arrival to a meeting with relatives of three people kidnapped by rebels of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC,...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Hugo Chavez’s once unshakable authority is finally on the wane in Venezuela, the New York Times reports. After 10 years in office, Chavez is still pushing hard for his socialist vision, but the people are more concerned with rampant crime and an economy that’s in trouble, despite loads of oil revenue. “Chavez’s revolution has stalled,” concluded one political scientist.

First Chavez suffered a humiliating defeat in a December referendum on his presidential powers. Now, he stands to lose out in state and municipal elections, as his party is playing defense. Even within his party, some insurgents are calling for change. "Chavismo is most vulnerable at the local level,” a political scientist observed. “That opens great opportunities for the opposition.”