Monday, June 27, 2011

The Hugo Chávez saga

Hugo Chávez has now been absent from Venezuela (and he hasn't been seen since June 10) long enough to generate rumors of his death, then angry counter-responses that such rumors are coup-mongering.  Or was it prostate cancer? No, not cancer, and he'll be back by July 5!  And did he violate the constitution? No, he didn't, and stop dreaming!  There's nothing like a good presidential rumor, but these are just distractions from the more important issue, which is leadership.

Chávez's movement, and the PSUV more specifically, can actually become stronger if there is a collective effort to foster new leadership in response to this episode.  Chávez is not immortal [note: as a commenter noted, my original post incorrectly stated "mortal." I will go on the record that I do not believe Hugo Chávez is a zombie or vampire.] and should not be viewed as indispensable.  As Steven Levitsky has written, Peronism has remained strong because of its flexibility--it has long outlived Perón because there was a structure that went beyond him as an individual and encouraged the cultivation of new leaders.  I am not saying that the PSUV copy Peronism exactly, but rather that there is an opportunity to a) strengthen the party; and b) become an effective loyal opposition at a future point in time when the party loses the presidency.

Hopefully there is not any broad support for Adán Chávez's call for guerrilla warfare.


Justin Delacour 2:54 PM  

Some good points, but I'm not sure why you rely on the Miami Herald for information about Adan Chavez. Before taking the report's claims seriously, I would want to know what Chavez's brother was responding to. It's not as if the Miami Herald isn't known for taking words out of context.

Anonymous,  3:44 PM  

Adan Chavez has called, openly, in Venezuelan press for armed struggle to preserve the power of his brother. It is not a Miami Herald information. I share the views of the author regarding similarities with Peronism.
j. Chaffardet

Anonymous,  3:47 PM  

This link is from El Universal about what Adan said.

Justin Delacour 9:57 PM  

This link is from El Universal about what Adan said.

The report doesn't provide any context. Does the statement refer to some hypothetical scenario under discussion? Or did Chavez's brother just say this out of the blue, without reference to a hypothetical scenario?

The problem is that publications like the Herald and El Universal will never tell us the context of a statement because providing the context usually doesn't serve their agenda. The primary interest of publications like the Herald and El Universal is to generate hysteria.

Anonymous,  9:51 AM  

"Chávez is not mortal"--I think this is a funny typo.

Vicente Duque 11:02 AM  

Mr Weeks :

Your article is about Venezuela and Argentina.

I very strongly suspect that these two countries are heavily corrupted and that their leaders become richer and richer by the most corrupt means.

These suspicions come from many private conversations and reading the press.

Hugo Chavez, Cristina Fernandez, etc manipulate their populaces by the most despicable demagoguery and populism and the worst leftist deception.

This is not to say that Left Politics are corrupt, evil, dishonest, etc...

I feel respect for the Left in other nations. But in Venezuela and Argentina they are a shame for the whole Latin America.

Those are resource rich nations but the thieves in Government are sucking the blood and leading the charge to Backwardness and Poverty.

Vicente Duque

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