Although there are outward signs of democracy in Venezuela – elections, parliament, courts – these are largely impotent institutions. Hugo Chavez dismantled Venezuelan democracy during his 14 years in power, reducing the powers of parliament, the judiciary and the media or packing them with regime loyalists. The situation has continued under Chavez’s successor Nicolas Maduro. As a result, power in Venezuela has been concentrated overwhelmingly in the presidency and Maduro’s Socialist Party machinery.
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