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Although Venezuela's ailing dictator Hugo Chavez secured re-election on October 7, he only bothered with the election process to lend himself an air of legitimacy and the ability to maneuver, said Joel D. Hirst of the George W. Bush Institute at an AEI event on Thursday. The U.S. must delegitimize the Chavez regime based on its actions in the years to come, claimed Hirst.
Hirst joined Roger Noriega of AEI, Martin Rodil of Vision Americas LLC, and Dan Fisk of the International Republican Institute to discuss the ramifications of Venezuela's groundbreaking election and how the U.S. must move forward in its policy toward the Latin American country. Fisk argued that while Chavez has appeared moderate and reconciliatory since the election, his vision has not changed.
Rodil alleged that Venezuela's opposition party has the capacity to be a strong alternative to the Chavez regime moving forward, but requires external assistance from the U.S., Spain, France, and England to do so. Roger Noriega added that private dialogue with the Brazilians on nuclear proliferation and drug trafficking is necessary to address Venezuela's domestic problems in the long term.
-- Alex Della Rocchetta
The October 7 elections in Venezuela have evolved from a one-sided contest favoring anti-U.S. strongman Hugo Chavez into a competitive campaign in which democratic unity candidate Henrique Capriles Radonski is gaining momentum in the polls. In this groundbreaking election, Venezuelans will choose between two very different visions: “Twenty-first century socialism” versus a future of democratic institutions and citizen security. Though only optimistic observers expect the cancer-stricken Chavez and his corrupt cronies to surrender power, this new dynamic could produce major opportunities for change.
Join AEI's Roger Noriega for a panel discussion of election news from Venezuela and the implications for the U.S.
If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.
Dan Fisk, International Republican Institute
Joel D. Hirst, George W. Bush Institute
Roger F. Noriega, AEI
Martin Rodil, Vision Americas LLC
For more information, please contact Alex Della Rocchetta at [email protected], 202.862.7152.
For media inquiries, please contact Véronique Rodman at [email protected], 202.862.4871.
Dan Fisk is the vice president for policy and strategic planning for the International Republican Institute (IRI). Before joining IRI, Fisk served in a number of positions in the U.S. government, including as special assistant to the president and senior director for Western Hemisphere affairs on the National Security Council (NSC) from October 2005 to January 2009. He joined the NSC after working for the U.S. Department of State, where he was deputy assistant secretary of state in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs. Fisk’s experience in the U.S. government also includes service in Congress as an adviser and associate counsel to members of the Senate, the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and other work in the Department of Defense and Department of State in counternarcotics and Latin America.
Joel D. Hirst is the Fellow in Human Freedom at the George W. Bush Institute. Previously, he was a recipient of the prestigious International Affairs Fellowship at the Council on Foreign Relations. As a fellow at the Council, he researched the Cuba- and Venezuela-sponsored Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas and wrote the first English language book on the subject titled “The ALBA: Inside Venezuela’s Bolivarian Alliance.” Hirst worked for six years with the United States Agency for International Development’s Office of Transition Initiative. In Venezuela, he worked for four years on democracy promotion, elections, civil society and human rights, and received a Superior Honor Award for work on the 2007 constitutional referendum.
Roger F. Noriega is a visiting fellow at AEI and the founder and managing director of Visión Américas LLC, which advises U.S. and foreign clients on international business issues. He served as the assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs (Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean) from July 2003 to October 2005 and as the U.S. ambassador to the Organization of American States from August 2001 to July 2003. Noriega is currently vice chairman of the board of directors of the Congressional Award Foundation and a member of the advisory boards of the Canadian American Border Trade Partnership and The Americano, an online forum for Latino voters.
Martin Rodil is a director of research for Visión Américas LLC, where he leads a project focused on Iran’s activities, and its proxy Hezbollah, in Latin America. His research efforts have supported congressional testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security and the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and a series of academic papers. Before this, Rodil assisted in the investigation of fraud, money laundering, financial issues and government liaison at the International Monetary Fund. Rodil has lectured on terrorism financing and money laundering at the U.S. Congress, the Center for Security Policy and the World Affairs Council in Florida, among others.