nybooks:

Alma Guillermoprieto on the death of Hugo Chávez: “During his years in power one never had to worry about whether conversation at a Venezuelan dinner party or a neighborhood dance would take off: there was always Chávez, and indeed, only Chávez, to bewail, praise, mock, or pray to. He was the only problem and the solution to every problem. In his endless, ravening ambition—the ambition of the fat man who inhales expansively in order to take up more room in the elevator—he was All.”

The Last Caudillo http://j.mp/107lKbS

Photo: Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez in Montevideo, Uruguay, December, 2009 (Dante Fernandez/Getty Images)

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