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Hugo Chavez unmasked

By Alek Boyd

London 08.03.07 | The enterprise of writing a book about a dictator that generates news and reveals himself at the speed at which Hugo Chavez does is quite difficult. Equally in light of the amount of disinformation and propaganda, to limit the narrative to a three month-long presidential campaign, without providing crucial elements that could facilitate a better understanding about the political situation, would amount to a contribution to the current misleading literature on the topic. For a long time I have argued with Venezuelan media types and opposition folks that the collection of documentaries produced -since Chavez reached power- on the country's political situation is entirely useless from a detached international perspective. For one simple reason, these have been made by people emotionally involved at a very deep level with the issue; that is to say objectivity is almost non existent. A couple of Irish film makers produced a documentary about the coup that briefly ousted Chavez in April 2002 called "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." The secret of the success of this film is that the narrative is dispassionate, lacking sad melodies and unnecessary dramatization. The event which it features, a coup d'etat, is the star of the film, any other elements are brilliantly kept in the periphery. That prevented to cast shadows or to rob the limelight to the true protagonist.

Said film charmed audiences worldwide that naturally and immediately sympathized with the underdog, in this case Hugo Chavez. The cleverly edited film presents the story line of a man of the people, a savior of the poor, being attacked with heavy artillery, fighter jets and tanks by an extremist bunch of military and political foes. Avoiding crucial details that took place prior, during and post coup it plays with dates, scenes, rallies, people, statements and events, accommodating the convenient ones, at the expense of a proper chronological sequence, and disregarding those that could jeopardize the image of victim given to Chavez.

I have also maintained that Hugo Chavez worst enemy is Hugo Chavez and that no amount of documentaries, papers, articles in local or foreign media, declarations from foreign officials or NGOs can harm Chavez's carefully crafted image more than his own persona. One good example is his UN speech, mind you the guy had it in the pocket but his inability to keep his foul mouth shut certainly won the day over his desires to get a UN platform from where to broadcast his Alo Presidentes.

The point I'm trying to get at is that yesterday I saw, for the first time, a documentary of sorts about Hugo Chavez that clearly depicts the true man behind the mask. The protagonist interacts with the interviewer in natural and frank manner, without posturing, the dialogue flows and the story line details events in strict chronological observance -as lived by Chavez, and allows the audience to gain a broad and clear picture about Venezuela; past, present and future. It's a must see for all of those interested in Venezuela's contemporary politics. Unfortunately at present it's only available in Spanish, however fear not for a subtitled version is already being prepared. At last the ultimate truth about Hugo Chavez straight from the horse's mouth. My deepest gratitude goes to Jose Vicente Rangel for having done such a fantastic job in exposing Hugo Chavez's unhingement*. The time of hyperbole, poor translations, spin and official tergiversations has ended.

*Version with English subtitles to follow as soon as I get it.

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