Chávez squanders legitimacy while ruining Venezuela

In democracies, elected leaders have broad latitude to ruin their countries. They are elected, after all. Election confers legitimacy.Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez has stretched electoral license beyond the breaking point.Chávez is ruining democratic principles along with Venezuela. Elected on a promise to help chronically poor Venezuelans, he is systematically dismembering his country's oil-based economy and consigning all Venezuelans except his cronies to poverty.Yet he was elected. Twice. Venezuela's constitution allows a midterm referendum on his presidency in August—but maybe not before. Chávez's opponents, having stalled the already teetering econ...

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