Everyone in America should breathe a sigh of relief that Hugo Chavez’s referendum that would have essentially made him president for life failed. If it had succeeded, it would have ment that Chavez could have been a Castro like figure. The difference would have been, with the way oil revenues are right now, Chavez might have been a Castro that could have actually done something. Castro, for all practical purposes, has really done nothing since he came to power...expect keep himself in office by keeping the US embargo going. Chavez could have done so much more.
Currently Chavez has the support of Bolivia, and, at least in OPEC, he has the support of Ecuador. Brazil, after finding off shore oil reserves, is also thinking of joining OPEC. Honestly it is not hard to imagine a situation where Chavez could have used oil as a consolidating element in South America. With Chavez being the leader of the “anti-America South America” coalition it could have lead to US influence dwindling to historic lows in South America. The scary part is that Chavez is not out of office until 2013 giving him plenty of time to try this referendum again. This time elections seemed to be honest and fair, next time they may not be next time around.