Comandante: Inside Hugo Chávez’s Venezuela
Hugo Chávez is a phenomenon. He has been compared to Napoleon, Nasser, Perón and Castro but the truth is there has never been a leader like him. He is democratically elected, reigns like a monarch from a mobile television throne, and provokes adoration and revulsion in equal measure. How did a charismatic autocrat seduce not just a nation but a significant part of world opinion? And how does he continue to stay in power despite the crumbling of Venezuela? When he first came to power in 1999, Chávez became a symbol of hope and freedom for his people. Yet, in his thirteen years as president, Chávez has seized control of the lucrative Venezuelan oil industry, allowed basic government functions to wither, jailed political opponents and courted Castro and Ahmadinejad, all while occupying much of Venezuela’s airwaves with his long-running television show, Aló Presidente!. In Comandante, acclaimed journalist Rory Carroll breaches the walls of Miraflores Palace to tell the inside story of Chávez’s life and his political court in Caracas. Blending the lyricism and strangeness of magical realism with the brutal, ugly truth of authoritarianism – a powerful combination reminiscent of Ryszard Kapuscinski’s The Emperor – Rory Carroll has written a cautionary tale for our times.
For links to articles and a film clip related to this event, check HERE on our blog.
As a long serving correspondent for the Guardian, Rory Carroll has covered war zones, survived a kidnapping in Iraq, and reported on the transition to full democracy in South Africa. He was based in Caracas as the Guardian’s Latin America correspondent from 2006 to 2012. His work has been long-listed for the Orwell Prize, the UK’s pre-eminent prize for political writing.
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