Venezuela: A Latin Enigma; the Recall Vote May Show Whether Hugo Chavez Is a New Version of Fidel Castro or Daniel Ortega
Byline: Phil Gunson
In January 1999, Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez interviewed Hugo Chavez on a flight from Havana to Caracas, a month after Chavez had won Venezuela's presidential election. The Nobel laureate came away from the encounter clearly charmed by the president-elect, but he was also struck by a paradox that has puzzled many others in the intervening years. As they parted, Garcia Marquez later wrote in a magazine article entitled "The Enigma of the Two Chavezes," he felt he had been speaking to two different men. One was a self-styled visionary who had been granted "the opportunity to save his country. The other [was] an illusionist, who might pass into history as just another despot."
Garcia Marquez was on the mark. As Chavez faces a recall referendum that could bring an abrupt end to his avowedly revolutionary five-year-old government, he remains something of an enigma. That trait has fueled speculation about his likely reaction to victory or defeat in next week's voting. Should he lose, will Chavez quietly hand over …
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Publication information: Article title: Venezuela: A Latin Enigma; the Recall Vote May Show Whether Hugo Chavez Is a New Version of Fidel Castro or Daniel Ortega. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: Newsweek International. Publication date: August 16, 2004. Page number: 34. © 2009 Newsweek, Inc. All rights reserved. Any reuse, distribution or alteration without express written permission of Newsweek is prohibited. For permission: www.newsweek.com. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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