by Ray Walser, Jessica Zuckerman
The Heritage Foundation
March 06, 2013
On Tuesday, cancer claimed the life of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, silencing one of Latin America’s most controversial leaders in the 21st century. Chavez’s death opens the way to an uncertain succession process, continued polarization, and potential instability in oil-rich Venezuela. Dealing with a post-Chavez Venezuela will require an ongoing U.S. commitment to free and fair presidential elections, to the defense of individual rights and liberties, and to leveraging future improvements in bilateral relations to genuine cooperation in the fight against transnational crime and terrorism. Working with Venezuela for a more stable and secure hemispheric energy market is also a desired, if still distant, objective.