Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez vowed to continue with his socialist reforms after winning another six-year term.
Although many Venezuelan voters faced the closing of the Florida consulate and had to travel to the nearest consulate in New Orleans. University of Florida professor of Latin American Studies Terry McCoy said Venezuelan opposition was more united this election year.
“There’s a certain portion of the Venezuelan population that has always been anti-Chavez,” he said. “The vote against him this time was much greater and the margin of victory was much smaller … because there’s a growing number of Venezuelan’s disillusioned with his rule.”
McCoy said the United States and Venezuela have a relationship “characterized by political enmity and economic necessity.”
“I expect the United States will have full relations with the Chavez government and that the Chavez government will continue to bait the U.S.,” he said.
Chavez has had poor health for the last several years and has been visibly weakened. McCoy said if Chavez were no longer in power it would rattle the current political environment.
“He’s had bouts of cancer with major surgeries,” he said. “He and the government have refused to clairfy the nature of that cancer, but I don’t know what the long-term outlook of that is.”
Emily Miller edited this story online.