• The Washington Post


In Venezuela’s brief but raucous presidential campaign, the ruling party has let Hugo Chavez do the talking. On state television, he provides words of wisdom in frequent ads, and loudspeakers at campaign rallies belt out recordings of him singing the national anthem.

And then there’s Chavez’s last speech, repeatedly played on the campaign trail, in which the self-styled revolutionary tells Venezuelans that his “irrevocable, absolute” wish is that they elect Nicolas Maduro as president should he be unable to serve. Chavez died last month at 58. Maduro, Chavez’s confidant for 20 years, is interim president.

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