The Death Of Hugo Chavez And The Future of Venezuela

With Jane Clayson in for Tom Ashbrook.

Hugo Chavez, dead at 58. We’re looking at what’s ahead for Venezuela.

A supporter of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez cries as she holds up a poster of Chavez that reads in Spanish "Let's be like Chavez" and "Forbidden to forget" as Chavistas gather in Bolivar square to mourn Chavez's death in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP)

A supporter of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez cries as she holds up a poster of Chavez that reads in Spanish “Let’s be like Chavez” and “Forbidden to forget” as Chavistas gather in Bolivar square to mourn Chavez’s death in Caracas, Venezuela, Tuesday, March 5, 2013. (AP)

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela’s controversial and charismatic president, died last night after a battle with cancer. The self-proclaimed revolutionary dominated his country with a sweeping  socialist agenda.

He championed the downtrodden. Reviled capitalism. Sang and danced on his weekly television show. He met with Ahmadinejad. Castro. Qaddafi.  And, never missed an opportunity to slam the US.

Inside his own country, Chavez was adored and reviled. Now, the omnipresent presidente is gone.

This hour, On Point: Venezuela and the world after Chavez.


Rory Carroll, correspondent for The Guardian and former chief of their Latin American bureau. Author of “Commandante: Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.” (@rorycarroll72)

Francisco Toro, Venezuelan journalist and blogger who runs the English-language blog “Caracas Chronicles.” Co-author of “Blogging the Revolution: Caracas Chronicles and the Hugo Chavez Era.” (@caracaschron)

Cynthia Arnson, director of the Latin American Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

From the Reading List

CNN “Hugo Chavez, the polarizing president of Venezuela who cast himself as a “21st century socialist” and foe of the United States, died Tuesday, said Vice President Nicolas Maduro. Chavez, who had battled cancer, was 58. Chavez’s democratic ascent to the presidency in 1999 ushered in a new era in Venezuelan politics and its international relations.”

The New Republic “Hugo Chávez died today in Venezuela at the age of 58, but his battle with a never-specified form of cancer was waged largely in a Cuban hospital—a telling detail, as Cuba loomed just as large in his political imagination as his native country.”

Time “Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez died Tuesday from complications related to a near two-year battle with cancer. He was 58. Chávez, a populist firebrand who has defined a whole era of Latin American politics, was not known for holding his tongue. Here are some choice examples of the socialist’s oratory.”

Excerpt from “Commandante” by Rory Carroll

Selection from “Blogging the Revolution” by Francisco Toro: “No Hay Material

BLOGGINGAsk anyone at all and they’ll tell you: hands down, the three most feared words in Venezuela’s bureaucratic vocabulary are “there’s no material.”

It’s a kind of code phrase, meaning something like “no, seriously, there’s no use trying to bribe me: I genuinely can’t help you.” The cargo gods have not come through. For whatever reason, the tenuous link with the fairy country that manufactures the little physical booklets that, provided a photo and a battery of official stamps, become passports, has been severed.

For what reason? For how long?

These are questions no sane Venezuelan ever asks.



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