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Testing Chávez
By Jesse Freund

(Business 2.0) – On Aug. 15, Venezuelans will decide whether to recall President Hugo Chávez. The opposition would have to mobilize close to 4 million voters to unseat the populist leader--which doesn't seem doable. Even if Chávez loses the recall, observers believe he's likely to win when an election is held to name a replacement. Frustrated by his resilience, the White House has accused Chávez of trying to establish a Cuban-style dictatorship. But the deeper fear is that if the situation gets messy, oil prices could spike. After a failed attempt to unseat Chávez in 2002, the country's oil workers went on strike and the price of crude rose by $3 per barrel.