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Hugo Chávez won the presidential election on an uneven playing field

Henrique Capriles didn’t do anything wrong. The 40-year-old Venezuelan opposition leader ran a nearly flawless presidential campaign against Hugo Chávez. He was the right candidate—energetic, creative, passionate and tireless—to go up against an ailing leader who makes no excuses for his desire to be president for life.

But near-perfection isn’t enough when you are competing with a modern authoritarian like Hugo Chávez. All the same, even in failure, the Venezuelan opposition is offering a textbook lesson on how best to…

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