Despite a vigorous young opponent...Hugo Chavez, 58...coasted to his 3rd re-election ...and 6 more years as president.
Oil dependent Cuba and other Caribe nations can now breathe easier after Chavez beat back the united opposition's 40-year-old Henrique Capriles Radonski...by 10%.
With more than 90% of the vote counted...Chavez garnered 55%...vs Capriles' 44%.
Chavez won 22 of 24 states.
His margin of victory was 1.5 million votes.
Serious questions about Chavez's health...and possible successors...still loom over this victory.
Voters also ignored growing crime, inflation, corruption...food, power and housing shortages...and a crumbling infrastructure to re-elect Chavez.
Chavez is also likely continue to give away some $7 billion in oil annually to allied nations.
Observers speculate that the nation's credit worthiness will erode even more.
NEW!!! PDVSA's troubled oil policies predicted to continue.
JP Morgan speculates that production will decrease from current 3mn bpds to 2.58 in 2013...even with more focus on Asia and nat gas exploration.
Another devaluation now predicted as black market values Bolivar at 3x face.
Bonds fall 5-7% after election.