With ten days to go to the Venezuelan elections the polls are showing a huge lead for the socialist acting president Nicolas Maduro (his columns are in red above for every province). This is unsuprising given that his millionaire opponent Henrique Capriles Radonski has been linked to the coup against Hugo Chavez in 2002 and has openly said that he will reverse the social policies that Chavez introduced.
However, the bad news is that staring defeat in the face, Capriles and his supporters have been hinting darkly that they will not recognise the election as being fair. Ominously a spokespersopn for the US State Department has also suggested that the White House may not reconginse the process either, thus paving the way for a dirty tricks campaign aimedvat destabilizing Maduro once he has been elected. Sensing this, already some of more moderate of Maduro's opponents have left the coalition supporting Capriles because they do no like the idea of polarising Venezuelean society still further. It sure looks as though Maduro is going to win the election but it is also likely that the Venezuelan people will need to actively defend him in power.