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Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution

A revealing account of the leader at the forefront of Latin America’s socialist revolution.

The authoritative first-hand account of contemporary Venezuela, Hugo Chávez places the country’s controversial and charismatic president in historical perspective, and examines his plans and programs. Welcomed in 1999 by the inhabitants of the teeming shanty towns of Caracas as their potential savior, and greeted by Washington with considerable alarm, this former golpista-turned-democrat took up the aims and ambitions of Venezuela’s liberator, Simón Bolívar. Now in office for over a decade, President Chávez has undertaken the most wide-ranging transformation of oil-rich Venezuela for half a century, and dramatically affected the political debate throughout Latin America.

In this updated edition, Richard Gott reflects on the achievements of the Bolivarian revolution, and the challenges that lie ahead.

Reviews

  • “A colourful and readable account of Chávez’s background and beliefs.”
  • “Gott is always an interesting, well-informed, and engaging writer.”
  • “Chávez, as Richard Gott’s readable profile makes clear, is no ordinary caudillo.”
  • “Gott is, if nothing else, a true believer of the revolutionary process in Latin America and brings his own sense of moral indignation every time he mentions the United States. It is worth reading a text that is so ideological yet effectively explains how many people in the upper ranks of the Chávez government perceive the world around them.”

Blog

  • Verso's Holiday Gift Guide - radicalize the loved ones in your life!

    We know how hard it is to shop for gifts for your parents, or your sister's fiancé, or that anti-social co-worker you picked for secret santa. So we've made it easy with our top picks from the Verso catalog for everyone in your life.

    Plus every title is 50% off with FREE shipping for the rest of December!

    For more inspiration check out our FREE e-book sampler with highlights from our 2014 list, including pieces from Arundhati Roy, Benjamin Kunkel, Gabriella Coleman, Nadya Tolokonnikova, Shlomo Sand, Walter Benjamin and Slavoj Žižek.

    HOW TO RADICALIZE THE BABY BOOMERS IN YOUR LIFE



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  • Uprisings in South America: A reading list



    As neoliberal policies and monetary hegemony continue to dominate around the globe, protests for democracy and against the political elite are widespread. With the start of the World Cup in Brazil it is, yet again, kicking off everywhere.

    Riot police fired percussion grenades and teargas at anti-World Cup protesters in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro on Thursday as the countdown to the kick-off was marred by demonstrations in at least 10 Brazilian cities. Just hours before the opening ceremony at the Itaquerão stadium, about 100 protesters started fires and threw rocks at police in an apparent attempt to block a road leading to the venue.

    The "Our Cup is on the Street" protests are targeting the high cost of the stadiums, corruption, police brutality and evictions. "The World Cup steals money from healthcare, education and the poor. The homeless are being forced from the streets. This is not for Brazil, it's for the tourists," said Denize Adriana Ferreira in this Guardian report.

    The following reading list from Verso suggests books to help us understand the multifaceted histories of uprising in Central and South America, as well as the anti-world cup protests.

    Barbaric Sport: A Global Plague

    by Marc Perelman


    What does hosting the World Cup really mean for Brazil? Marc Perelman explores this, and more, in Barbaric Sport.

    Boycott Football and Fifa - read his piece on the world cup here.

    Radical Cities: Across Latin America in Search of A New Architecture
    by Justin McGuirk


    Justin McGuirk travels across Latin America in search of the activist architects, maverick politicians and alternative communities already answering these questions. From Brazil to Venezuela, and from Mexico to Argentina, McGuirk discovers the people and ideas shaping the way cities are evolving. 

    'We want FIFA standard schools and hospitals' - what the World Cup means for Rio: read an extract from Radical Cities here.

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  • On the Legacy of Hugo Chávez

    This obituary by Greg Grandin originally appeared in The Nation.

    I first met Hugo Chávez in New York City in September 2006, just after his infamous appearance on the floor of the UN General Assembly, where he called George W. Bush the devil. "Yesterday, the devil came here," he said, "Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of." He then made the sign of the cross, kissed his hand, winked at his audience and looked to the sky. It was vintage Chávez, an outrageous remark leavened with just the right touch of detail (the lingering sulfur!) to make it something more than bombast, cutting through soporific nostrums of diplomatese and drawing fire away from Iran, which was in the cross hairs at that meeting.

    The press of course went into high dudgeon, and not just for the obvious reason that it's one thing for opponents in the Middle East to call the United States the Great Satan and another thing for the president of a Latin American country to personally single out its president as Beelzebub, on US soil no less.

    I think what really rankled was that Chávez was claiming a privilege that had long belonged to the United States, that is, the right to paint its adversaries not as rational actors but as existential evil. Latin American populists, from Argentina's Juan Perón to, most recently, Chávez, have long served as characters in a story the US tells about itself, reaffirming the maturity of its electorate and the moderation of its political culture. There are at most eleven political prisoners in Venezuela, and that's taking the opposition's broad definition of the term, which includes individuals who worked to overthrow the government in 2002, and yet it is not just the right in this country who regularly compared Chávez to the worst mass murderers and dictators in history. New Yorker critic Alex Ross, in an essay published a few years back celebrating the wunderkind Venezuelan conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, fretted about enjoying the fruits of Venezuela’s much-lauded government-funded system of music training: “Stalin, too, was a great believer in music for the people.”

    Read the entire article

Other books by Richard Gott