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Who Was Hugo Chávez?

7 Mar

Hugo/ BolivarI guess this is the responsible conservative dismissal of Hugo Chávez.

“The ultimate populist,” Richard Haass deemed Chávez, who led a “massive redistribution of wealth” domestically and also had an active foreign policy. “His vision for latin america that was extraordinarily radical. He was not democratic, to say the least,” Haass added, noting that the region now faces much uncertainty, particularly because Chavez didn’t quite put the country on a long-term track.

In a subsequent conversation, Haass lampoons Chávez as “complete theater”, a “larger than life” “leftwing caudillo”, and “Castro with oil” who contributed nothing of lasting value to Venezuela. Greg Grandin takes issue with this sort of “two lefts” dodge the United States has used in South America.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And one point I made in my column in the Daily News today on Chávez is that, to the degree that he was seen by the United States and Europe as the most radical of Latin American leaders, he created space for an enormous diversity of other left-oriented leaders that seemed almost more acceptable to the West up against the figure, the lightning-rod figure, of Chávez.

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