Hugo!

The Hugo Chavez Story from Mud Hut to Perpetual Revolution

by Bart Jones

Hardcover, 570 pages, Random House Inc, List Price: $30 | purchase

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Title
Hugo!
Subtitle
The Hugo Chavez Story from Mud Hut to Perpetual Revolution
Author
Bart Jones

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Book Summary

Based on interviews with key individuals in his life and presidential administration, a profile of the controversial Venezuelan leader recounts Châavez's life story, from his impoverished childhood, to his rise to power and his rocky political career.

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Excerpt: Hugo!

Hugo Chávez and I were sitting alone on the second floor of the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas, Venezuela. It was close to midnight on April 30, 2007. Venezuela was minutes away from making a small bit of history by taking majority control of four multi-billion dollar oil projects in the eastern Orinoco River basin from international companies including ExxonMobil, Chevron Corp, Conoco and Total. Like many of Chávez’s moves, the oil takeover was controversial. His detractors claimed it was another step in creating a totalitarian dictatorship modeled after his mentor in Cuba, Fidel Castro. His supporters responded that he was proudly re-establishing national sovereignty over a strategic natural resource where for years foreign companies had enjoyed a virtual tax holiday. I had a privileged bird's-eye view of Chávez coordinating the takeover. We were alone on the patio from 11:10 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. – prime time for the president. It was my second interview with him in two days – a rare opportunity to spend time with a man flooded with interview requests. The conversations that night and the previous one amounted to nearly four hours. We covered a lot of territory, from Chávez’s impoverished childhood to the 2002 coup in which he was almost killed…and at least one sensitive topic he had never spoken about publicly before and I feared might bring the interview to an abrupt end. — From the Preface