- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 20, 2011

The article on the upcoming Venezuelan elections (“Chavez foe says court ruling won’t deter his bid for office,” World, Wednesday) highlights problems faced by opposition candidates in Venezuela, including persecution and sabotage by the Venezuelan government.

Additionally, the opposition is hurting itself by delivering a populist, even socialist message. Hugo Chavez’s 21st-century socialism has severely damaged the economy. Opposition candidates should actually oppose Mr. Chavez’s policies. Embracing free enterprise rather than squelching it would do wonders for Venezuela’s ailing economy.

Instead, opposition coalition candidates are supporting the use of oil revenues to further grow the government. Some are even suggesting that Mr. Chavez does not spend enough on social programs.

Using populism to beat a master populist is not a recipe for success. Venezuelans deserve a true alternative to the failed policies of its current president.

DANIEL RIVERA

Washington