Hugo Chavez wins reelection in Venezuela; South Korea, Burma agree on investment talks; North Korea claims to have missiles capable of reaching United States; Afghanistan could descend into civil war following US withdrawal, says new report; Mexican drug lord killed; and more

Top of The Agenda: Venezuela President Hugo Chavez Wins Reelection

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez won his third six-year term (LAT), capturing 55 percent of the vote on Sunday to beat opposition leader and former Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles, who received 44 percent in a tight election race that saw 80 percent of Venezuelans head to the polls. The win will put fifty-eight-year-old Chavez, who has led the country since 1999 and battled cancer in recent years, in power until 2019. The U.S. State Department praised the high, peaceful turnout of the election, but called on Chavez to reach out to his rivals (Bloomberg) despite the fact that the leader has consistently challenged U.S. policy in Latin America by courting closer ties with China and Iran, as well as providing as much as $7 billion in subsidized oil and other assistance to allies.

Analysis

"Mr. Chávez is significantly less popular than he was six years ago. Even if he beat Mr. Capriles, no one believes that the final vote spread reflects the public's opinion of the winner. The opposition has become a powerful entity for the first time and is already talking up the December gubernatorial elections. Still, don't expect Mr. Chávez, a world-class demagogue, to lose his edge any time soon," writes Mary Anastasia O'Grady for The Wall Street Journal.

"To the average Venezuelan voter, access to the basics of a decent life means access to his or her little parcel of the petrostate pie, and supporting Chávez is the smart way to do that. That this ends up giving the incumbent carte blanche to pursue policies that are wasteful, corrupt, authoritarian and sporadically downright criminal doesn't necessarily register. The abstractions of constitutional government are distant indeed when you feel you owe the guy in power everything that makes your life bearable," writes Francisco Toro for International Herald Tribune.

 

PACIFIC RIM

South Korea, Burma Agree on Investment Talks

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Myanmar President Thein Sein agreed Tuesday to launch negotiations for an investment guarantee pact (Yonhap), pledging to bolster trade and investment during Thein Sein's three-day state visit.

NORTH KOREA: North Korea claimed on Tuesday to have missiles that are capable of reaching the U.S. mainland (AFP), two days after South Korea unveiled a missile deal with the United States.

 

ELSEWHERE:

Afghanistan could descend into civil war following US withdrawl, says report

Mexican drug lord killed

 

This is an excerpt of the CFR.org Daily News Brief. The full version is available on CFR.org.

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