March 7, 2013
The death this week of Venezuelan despot Hugo Chávez death this week, while not a surprise given his health, is still a big deal.
“Chávez’s death has far-reaching—and potentially dangerous—implications for the U.S. and the world, ” The Heritage Foundation’s Jessica Zuckerman explains.
Recent actions by interim president Nicolás Maduro “threaten to take a dangerous situation from bad to worse,” Zuckerman says, and could “spark strong anti-American violence in Venezuela like that seen throughout the Middle East late last year.” Maduro went so far as to blame the United States for Chávez’s illness. While plainly ridiculous, in Venezuela these remarks may be taken seriously.
This might be the first big problem Secretary of State John Kerry has to deal with, especially since Venezuela has ties to Iran and terrorist groups like Hezbollah.
Venezuela plans to hold elections in the next 30 days. “The Obama Administration should signal to Venezuela that anything other than free and fair elections for the nation’s new president will open the door to possible diplomatic and economic sanctions,” Zuckerman insists.
The United States need to keep it’s eyes open in the long road ahead for Venezuela. Zuckerman concludes:
Chavez may be dead, but his anti-American spirit and the damage caused by his sweeping socialist policies are not. In the days and weeks to come, both newly confirmed Secretary of State Kerry and the next president of Venezuela will have many challenges on their hands.
Should the U.S. be concerned on the road ahead with Venezuela? Tell us below in the comments.