Latin American Program in the News: "Who is Venezuelan Opposition Leader Leopoldo López?"

by Ted Hesson, Fusion

Feb 20, 2014
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We know one thing about López: he opposes Chávez-style socialism. But what does that mean? The details aren’t clear, according to Eric Olson, the associate director of the Latin American program at the Wilson Center.

“I’m not aware of a 10-point plan to stop inflation in Venezuela from López,” he said. “It’s more, ‘We’re going to reverse the Chávez socialist agenda.’ But the specifics are quite vague.”

In 2011, The New York Times described López's ideology as “within the center-left range of Latin America’s political spectrum.” That doesn’t tell us much, however.

“One of the dilemmas for the opposition in Venezuela has always been whether they are trying to restore some past order or whether they share, in some general sense, the need for more focused programs to help the poor, but reject the authoritarian policy of the Chávez government,” Olson said.

It’s not clear exactly what López would do to the socialist government if he became president. His family history and experience as mayor of an affluent area suggest he would be a champion for the free market, but that’s just speculation.

“No one has done an objective study,” Olson said.

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