Score another lamentable election victory for Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The fiery, anti-U.S. revolutionary now has another six-year term to continue with the plans he launched after his first election in 1998 to dismantle Venezuela's free-market economy and pursue his anachronistic socialist agenda.
Not long ago, American leaders would've had good reason to be concerned about the national security implications of another Chávez term. Venezuela sits atop the world's largest proven reserves of oil and is a major petroleum exporter to the United States. Chávez has repeatedly rankled U.S. leaders by providing support for leftist Colombian guerrillas and sponsoring socialist political campaigns in Ecuador, Bolivia and Nicaragua.
Yet his so-called Bolívarian revolution has proved hollow. Chávez's Latin American political allies have found that, without the same kind of oil income Venezuela enjoys, revolutionary socialism is almost impossible to sustain. ...
Chávez's opposition has tried repeatedly to stop the president through elections and referendums, but it's never been able to muster the necessary voting muscle. His continuation in power for another six-year term will no doubt rob Venezuela of the economic growth opportunities that are spurring job creation and investment elsewhere in the region. Venezuela's professional class of lawyers, doctors, engineers and entrepreneurs have fled the country in droves.
The more U.S. and other regional leaders ignore him, the less his bluster seems to resonate. For all his antics and rhetoric, Chávez should increasingly be dismissed for what he is -- a toothless tiger.
The Dallas Morning News