How an Election Changed Venezuela

Juan Cristobal Nagel over at Caracas Chronicle makes an excellent point about how the current protests in Venezuela are a direct extension of the 2013 election:

With everything that has gone on since, it is easy to forget what preceded the April 14th election. After Hugo Chávez died and millions participated in a cathartic funeral, an election was called. It was supposed to be a mauling for the opposition. …

Its official result, a razor thin margin of victory for Maduro, was completely unexpected.

Elections are supposed to settle things, and this one settled something alright: politics in Venezuela would never be the same again. …

None of what we see now would be happening if Maduro had romped to a twenty point victory, as was expected. None of this would be happening if the election had been close, but if both sides had accepted its results.

Nonetheless, the opposition — led by Capriles and López — represents two alternatives, not one. Even if Maduro had lost last year, chavismo would still be the plurality.