By Andrés Gaudín
Four months ahead of elections in which Venezuelans will choose the 167 members of the unicameral Asamblea Nacional (AN), society seems disconnected from an event that could definitively decide the future of the country, either by consolidating President Hugo Chávez's Revolución Bolivariana or by marking the resurgence of an opposition that remains disunited, weak, and without leadership or a common platform.
Nevertheless, the political parties are mobilized as never before and, for the first time in the democratic history of the country, they held primary elections to choose their candidates. However, the climate is not optimal for the unfolding of such a significant event.
The opposition alleges that its leaders suffer political persecution and has managed to get its allies outside the country to echo those allegations.
The ongoing drought, but also the lack of foresight, has forced the government to enact two deeply unpopular measures: water and electricity rationing (see NotiSur, 2010-02-12). It also took two other strictly economic steps that again brought confrontation with the opposition.
It moved forward with the process of nationalizing industries and expropriating lands. And, it decided to enforce a strict foreign-exchange control policy in an effort to prevent dollar speculation from fueling inflation, which in the first four months of 2010 reached 11.3% (see NotiSur, 2010-03-19). …