Thursday, November 25, 2004

Due for refurbishment

I was hoping to have a longer chat with Richard Gott last night, not least because I wanted to pick up on his book about Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez, In the Shadow of the Liberator.

It was written about four years ago, which means it’s missing out a lot of the most notable events which have happened since: his re-election, the oil strike, the aborted coup and his referendum win. My reading was that Gott seemed a little starry-eyed by the so-called Bolivarian revolution unleashed by Chavez – I remain sceptical, not least because it’s not entirely clear that the structures he’s building will last beyond him (a la Fujimori).

Gott did tell me that he’s in the process of updating the book. I hope he takes a more critical view in it. The main concern I had with the 2000 edition was that there was an awful lot of Chavez’s history and his plans for his presidency and not enough analysis of what he was putting in place. While the definitive work can’t be written after Chavez leaves office, a study of his ‘Bolivarian revolution’ to date will be extremely useful.

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