The Hoover Digest's Primer on the Venezuelan Crisis for chronically clueless gringos:
by Michael Walker
CARACAS-A national recall referendum scheduled for August 15 will decide the fate of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez - and that of his country. Assuming the referendum actually takes place - and with Venezuelan politics, one should never assume anything - the opposition will finally have its chance to unseat the mercurial leftist leader.
It appeared for a time that the referendum would not take place. The opposition needed 2.4 million signatures to trigger the recall. More than 3 million signatures were gathered and submitted in December; however, amid much controversy, Venezuela's national electoral council disqualified nearly a million of the signatures on technical grounds. During the months of contentious legal battles that ensued, the opposition took to the streets in large marches that occasionally turned violent. In February, at least 14 people were killed in confrontations with the national guard.
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