Comandante: Inside the Revolutionary Court of Hugo Chávez by Rory Carroll - review by John Sweeney

John Sweeney

Hello, Mr President

Comandante: Inside the Revolutionary Court of Hugo Chávez


Canongate Books 363pp £20

Tyranny is one of the most successful political forms the world has ever seen, and it continually mutates to prey upon the host, humanity. Hugo Chávez, now stricken with cancer, has bequeathed a great curse upon Venezuela: a murder rate worse than Iraq’s, a broken society, a superheating economy and tons of Kalashnikovs in the barrios. It’s pretty dire given the wealth of oil gold Chávez has squandered.

Murder is not Chávez’s thing. Under the Comandante, it has been goodbye cosh, hello microphone. Everywhere you go in Venezuela, his chubby face is sure to follow. Previously, his television show Alo Presidente (‘Hello, Mr President’) boomed out, sometimes for eight hours at a stretch, a Big Brother monologue. But

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