Hugo Chavez

Horsey: Venezuela's descent into dictatorship shows democracy can be lost

Horsey: Venezuela's descent into dictatorship shows democracy can be lost

On the last night of 2010, I was at a party in Caracas, Venezuela. Standing on the balcony of a house set high on a hillside, I watched fireworks burst randomly over the metropolis that spread across the valley below. A new year often brings hope of fresh beginnings, but in that city that year there were feelings of dread.

The political upheaval brought about by Venezuela's revolutionary populist president, Hugo Chavez, was slipping into economic calamity, political corruption and a wave of street crime. And, as is usual with revolutions gone stale, democratic ideals were being sacrificed so that the regime could cling to power.

One of the other guests at the party, a wry,...

72°