THE SOURCE: "The Shah of Venezuela" by Enrique Krauze, in The New Republic, April 1, 2009.
IN LATIN AMERICA, FEW CATHolics take their religion straight, preferring to filter it through local patron saints or other intermediaries. Things are a little different in Venezuela, writes Enrique Krauze, the editor of the Mexican magazine Letras Libres. There, Catholicism is not as deeply ingrained as it is elsewhere in the region, and the intermediary is a secular hero, Simon Bolivar, "the Liberator." And it is to the national cult of Bolivar that Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez owes much of his popularity.
In the 1810s and '20s, Bolivar …