Venezuela voted yesterday. As the New York Times reports:
Mr. Maduro, the acting president, narrowly defeated Mr. Capriles, a state governor who ran strongly against Mr. Chávez in October. Election authorities said that with more than 99 percent of the vote counted, Mr. Maduro had 50.6 percent to Mr. Capriles’s 49.1 percent. More than 78 percent of registered voters cast ballots.
Francisco Toro writes at Caracas Chronicles that Henrique Cabriles must avoid becoming Venezuela's Lopez Obrador:
The silver lining is that the problem now is one of evidence, not rhetoric. CNE will have to release its detailed central tally. If that tally doesn’t match the machine-by-machine and/or the paper ballot handcount tallies (the actas de auditoría), that’ll be basically impossible to hide. Triple congruence is the strength of the CNE system. If there’s a breakdown in it, we’ll be able to tell.
And a reminder of the challenges Venezuela faces:
The economy suffers from high inflation — just over 20 percent last year — and from chronic shortages of many basic foods, medicines and other goods. Many economists predict that economic growth will slow significantly this year and some say the nation could slip into recession.
The government-owned oil monopoly, Petróleos de Venezuela, is a crucial source of government revenue, but it has been struggling with stagnant production and problems at its refineries. The country’s electrical grid is plagued by blackouts, which are frequent in many areas of the country outside Caracas.
And violent crime is rampant. As recently as Thursday, four people were shot to death in three separate incidents at a sprawling election rally for Mr. Maduro in Caracas, according to local news media accounts.