Chavez: Larger Than Strife

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Fidel and proteges... Source: ESTUDIOS REVOLUCION/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Source: ESTUDIOS REVOLUCION/AFP/Getty Images

The Americas are not really my fuerte — I'm more of a Middle East enthusiast when it comes to politics and current events. But if there's any Hugo Chavez news — I'm on it. He's a colorful character whose rhetoric alone is worth watching. If Chavez is one of my favorite leftists, then Jon Lee Anderson is one of my favorite journos (part of the Langewiesche, Hitchens trifecta). The combination made magic in this week's New Yorker — Anderson joins us today to talk to us about his extraordinary access to Chavez for his article, "Fidel's Heir: Hugo Chavez's Big Ambitions."



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I heard part of today's discussion and was struck by the participants' easy acceptance of the Bush Administration's rejection of Hugo Chavez's offer to help Katrina victims. How did Bush's rejection of Chavez's offer differ from the Burmese junta's rejection of Western assistance after the catastrophic cyclone Nargis? Too, after reading Bart Jones's very fine biography of Hugo Chavez, I see Chavez as on a different track than Fidel Castro, although both believe in home rule for Latin Americans without USA supervision.

Sent by Nancy | 5:41 PM | 6-25-2008

I have seen my country, Venezuela, going from Copey to AD for 40 years. Most people thought that electing Hugo Chavez would end the corruption. But corruption has never endedat every level however life use to be better and safer back then. Last year, when I went to visit my relatives, I was shocked to see trash and poverty everywhere. Mr. Chavez is making more money than ever with the oil but the country's infrastructure is in shambles!
Mr. Chavez doesn't hesitate to buy a new Boeing airplane or drive a Hummer but he hates the US. Mr. Chavez likes to see himself on TV and has a big mouth so he can get attention from the press and the world.

Sent by Margarita Sagemehl | 9:57 PM | 6-25-2008

I was listened to this interview today and I felt so sad. This was a very bad interview. I don't understand how Chavez can be called an extraordinary man. I would like to go to Venezuela with Mr. Andreson and show him the reality of Venezuela. A country with high income and very poor life quality. I can show him how hospitals don't work, public health doesn't exist, dengue is an epidemic, malaria is going on in the capital of Venezuela: Caracas, semi-naked children on the street, hospital with no medical supplies to cure people, garbage around everywhere, people been killed on the street, traffic is terrible, insecurity, no good water, no milk, no meat, education ????. How someone can say that Chavez the president of Venezuela can be an extraordinary man when he doesn't do anything for that country. Corruption -- yes it is good when he can pay with his checkbook. Come on, go there and see with your own eyes how the reality is instead of listening the bla bla bla that Chavez likes to say...

Sent by Anna Maria Caruso | 10:41 PM | 6-25-2008

What a wonderful interview! "Chavez is one of my favorite leftists...."
Mine too! I could almost see the wistful, dreamy look on the faces of my fellow listeners...the wine and cheese crowd. Perhaps someday we too could have the social and economic justice that those in Venezuela enjoy. I surmize that this will only occur when we have better leadership in our country. We need someone better educated and "nuanced" such as Chavez, a man who truly understands the needs of the unwashed masses!

Sent by robert | 1:36 PM | 6-26-2008

If Latin America changes it will not be because of it's leaders. (Of which all are bad in my humble opinion) It will because of the Latin American people. So far I have seen only mass ignorance and lazy minds from people down here. It is nice to blame the US and European colonial history, because no one has to take responsibility.

Sent by Archie Haase | 3:04 PM | 6-26-2008

I was outraged when I heard this interview last week. How can somebody that is following on the steps of a ruthless dictator who has caused so much pain and suffering to the Cuban people be called "an extraordinary man"? It's unbelievable that a respected journalist that writes for The New Yorker would be so easily deceived by Chavez's "colorful" words. Chavez doesn't care about the Venezuelan people. He just wants to take over just like Fidel did. Maybe Mr. Anderson should do some research on how much damage Fidel has done to Cuba and its people before idolizing his "heir".

Sent by Lily | 2:46 PM | 6-30-2008

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