Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Apr 11/06 - On "In Search of Hugo Chávez": Is he really a mystery?

Still searching after 7 years?

: "In Search of Hugo Chávez" by Michael Shifter, published in Foreign Affairs, May/June Issue, 2006, presents a good (i.e. balanced) overview of the current situation in Venezuela and a decent, albeit partial, explanation of how we got into the bloody mess we are in.

However, Shifter - the oft quoted VP of the Inter-American Dialogue - fails to touch upon some of the psychological elements (i.e. Chávez's multipolar personality) that complicate the task of dissecting the present and forecasting the likely path of Bolivarian Venezuela. Suffice to say that the only irrational thing we can do at this point is to assume that there is a rational boundary to what lies ahead. My advice (to which I adhere to rigorously): plan for the worse and then pray you are wrong.

The antisocial, histrionic, disorganized and narcissistic former coupster (why search further for HCh?) is constantly charting new territory, confounding foes and even friends, and confirming every day that capricious power - and not the steady development, or welfare, of Venezuela(ns) - is his sole passion. Seven long years and wide-ranging statistics support this oil-revenue-camouflaged conclusion.

Shifter’s article joins a plethora of overviews of a very unhinged man - and his very crooked and vote-fabricating-human-rights-trashing revolution. Foreign Policy, Latin Finance, Fortune, Atlantic Monthly, Semana (Colombia), and National Geographic have earlier regaled their readership with similar stories…will Ladies’ Home Journal and Good Housekeeping follow the lead? PMB