In the aftermath of Hugo Chávez''s death, the inside
story of his life, his Venezuela, and his legacy.
Hugo Chávez was a phenomenon. He has been compared to Napoléon,
Nasser, Perón, and Castro, but the truth is there has never been a
leader like him. He was democratically elected, reigned like a
monarch from a digital throne, and provoked adoration and revulsion
in equal measure. Future historians will study his rule for what it
says about the early twenty-first century. How did a charismatic
autocrat seduce not just a nation but a significant part of world
opinion? How did he make people laugh and weep and applaud, as if
on command? And how did he continue to stay in power despite the
crumbling of Venezuela?
When he first came to power in 1999, Chávez promised a
democratic revolution to transform his country. In Venezuela and
elsewhere, he became a symbol of hope and freedom for his people.
Yet in his thirteen years as president, Chávez seized control of
the hugely lucrative Venezuelan oil industry, consolidated
government authority under the presidency, allowed basic government
functions to wither, jailed and excommunicated political opponents,
created a personality cult, and courted Castro and Ahmadinejad, all
while occupying much of Venezuela's airwaves with his long-running
television show, ¡Alo 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. Based on
interviews with ministers, aides, courtiers, and citizens, this
intimate piece of reportage chronicles a unique experiment in
power, which veers among enlightenment, tyranny, comedy, and farce.
Carroll investigates the almost religious devotion of millions of
Venezuelans who still regard Chávez as a savior and the loathing of
those who brand him a dictator. In beautiful prose that blends the
lyricism and strangeness of magical realism with the brutal, ugly
truth of authoritarianisma powerful combination reminiscent of
Ryszard Kapuscinski''s The EmperorRory Carroll has
written a cautionary tale for our times.
The inside story of Hugo Chvez's Venezuela, where the leader's charisma has captivated a nationNand led it to the brink. Based on interviews with ministers, aides, courtiers, and citizens, this intimate piece of reportage chronicles a unique experiment in power, which veers among enlightenment, tyranny, comedy, and farce.