MIAMI (CBS4) – Yesterday was a sad day for freedom-loving people worldwide.

Socialist strongman Hugo Chavez will remain in power after an election disguised as democracy.

His thirteen-year rule has led to skyrocketing murder and kidnapping rates, constant electrical blackouts, soaring inflation and shortages of the most basic staples.

Was there electoral fraud? Who knows? But democracy is a fraud when an authoritarian controls the courts, the legislature, the military, and the media and who uses thugs to intimidate opponents.

Venezuelans here had to travel to vote in New Orleans, because Chavez closed the Miami Venezuelan consulate.

His petrodollars prop up the Castros, socialist regimes and guerrilla movements, instead of helping Venezuelans.

When horrendous mudslides killed thousands and wiped out full towns thirteen years ago, Chavez refused U-S aid, preferring to keep his street cred with his dictator pals than to alleviate the suffering  of his own people.

Venezuela is a basket case, despite phenomenal resources, from oil to iron and aluminum, and spectacular natural beauty from Angel Falls to the Andes and the beaches of Los Roques.

I visited this spring for the first time in a decade and was shocked at the terrible decline and the fear in which people live.

Democracy has been dealt a harsh blow.


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