‘‘We will win the presidential elections in 2018”. Those were the words of the Venezuelan president, Nicolas Maduro, during his annual speech in front of the Constitutional Assembly on 15 January. Along with the traditional venceremos, a Castro-style throwback, it’s worth noting that the Venezuelan leader has made it quite clear that there will be elections before the year is out. Maduro’s promise is by no means a given in a country where electoral deadlines tend to be fairly elastic. One need only think of the regional and local elections which were arbitrarily postponed two years ago by Maduro himself, who was afraid of another political beating like the one he had received in 2015 when the opposition parties obtained a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly.

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