Thursday, May 11, 2006

Hugo Chavez's main opponent is farther to the left than he is

Quite a bit has been written, including by me, about Latin America's accelerating movement towards the left. So how fast is it happening? Well here is one measure-- you know Hugo Chavez, that bogeyman of the Bush administration, whose support by the impoverished masses overwhelmed the rich at the ballot box? Well, he is at least thirty points ahead of any potential challenger in the polls now ahead of this December's election (one reason why the few remaining righties are talking about boycotting the election) but he may have one challenger who has a chance to beat him: Teodoro Petkoff, a former leftist rebel, who is running against Chavez-- from the left.

CARACAS, Venezuela (Reuters) - A former leftist rebel, who is seen by many opponents of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez as the only hope of defeating him in a December election, said on Friday he will stand against the highly popular leader.

Teodoro Petkoff, the fourth hopeful from Venezuela's weak and fragmented opposition to stand for the December 3 presidential vote, is considered by some to have the leftist credentials to dent Chavez's support among the poor.

"I didn't discover poverty because Chavez showed it to me," said Petkoff, 74. "Many years before Chavez was born I was walking the poor neighborhoods and villages of this country."

That's right. Venezuela has moved to the left so rapidly that Hugo Chavez is now being run seriously against as being too conservative.

At this rate, the USA will pretty soon be the only country left in the Western Hemisphere where genuine conservatives even have a chance of winning an election (and before anyone makes the point, I blogged even before the Canadian election that Canadian conservatives are much more like American liberals in many ways, while Canadian Liberals are outright socialists.

And in Mexico, Lopez Obrador has a fair-to-good chance to win the Presidency.

No wonder conservatives want to build a wall. It's not to keep out people, it's to keep out ideas.

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