Published for the anniversary of the Venezuelan President’s death on the 5th March, Hugo Chávez is a book that reveals, for the first time, the unfolding of the entire span of the leader’s tumultuous life. The author, Mike Gonzalez takes a radical, and in parts critical approach to Chávez’s political decisions and his legacy. He introduces the book below.
‘Hugo Chávez was always controversial. As he followed George Bush to the podium at the U.N. General Assembly, he complained that there was a smell of sulphur in the air. In Moscow he crouched in a mock karate stance in front of a stony-faced Putin. His scorn for protocol won him the approval of poor citizens in many countries. And while right-wing commentators scoffed at his long speeches punctuated by songs and stories, Venezuela’s poor laughed with him because he looked and sounded just like them. For more than four decades, Venezuela’s much-vaunted democracy had been dominated by professional, mainly middle-class politicians who shared power, and the country’s oil wealth, among themselves. And regular and properly conducted elections concealed the torture and murder of political opponents, and corruption on a massive scale that ensured that the huge oil profits never found their way into the public purse. Chávez promised to change all that.