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Subject:  Good prospects for Obama's buddy Date:  10/2/2012  4:47 PM
Author:  fleg9bo Number:  646618 of 794656

We start in Venezuela, where dictat—err, three-term incumbent President Hugo Chavez is up for a fourth term Sunday. Under 14 years of chavismo, Venezuela's gone backward: Socialism has wreaked havoc on the economy and Venezuelans' quality of life; crime runs rampant in the capital, Caracas; and personal and political freedoms have eroded as Chavez has overseen the constitution's rewriting, seized control of media and used the military to crack down on political opponents. Meanwhile, for the first time since Chavez took power, the opposition has united around a credible challenger, Henrique Capriles, whose popularity rivals that of early-days Chavez.

Yet, as much as the contest should seem handicapped against Chavez, his ouster seems unlikely. Allegations of vote-rigging are already afoot: Due to the ballot's confusing design,