In recent months, Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez called for the world to recognize the legitimacy of Colombia's FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarios de Colombia) rebels, and then called on the rebels to give up the armed struggle. He ordered tanks to the Colombian border and then attended a summit meeting to defuse the crisis. Meanwhile, citing threats from what he calls 'The Empire,' he instituted a law that required Venezuelans to inform on their neighbors, and then withdrew it. And throughout, he's been a consistent thorn in the side of the United States in general and the Bush administration in particular.
Through much of that and more, writer Jon Lee Anderson had extraordinary access to Venezuela's president. Anderson talks about the experience, which he wrote about in the latest issue of The New Yorker.