From "Cult of Personality" to Just Plain Cult

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    • He does bear a resemblance to Bobby Hill.

      As for the leitmotif that we are starting to see recur again and again? Not surprised at all, sadly.

      Gentlemen, start your hagiography engines: first to pen “Vita S. Hugosis” wins.

  1. I don’t recognize all of them, who is the guy with the mustache? And the women? Well we knew it was going to happen, but you know what, no matter all this crazyness they can’t change the fact that he is dead and even if they portrait him as another deity he still will not be able to transfer his “powers” to Maduro…

    • According to one comment from the video, the people who Hugo Chavez meets are: Guaicaipuro, Augusto Cesar Sandino, Salvador Allende, Pedro Camejo, Evita Peron, Ali Primera, Che Guevara, Ezequiel Zamora, Simon Bolivar and Chavez’s grandmother Rosa Ines (known as mamá Rosa).

      • Ahhh I thought it was more religious, only negro primero is part of the santeria cult, I thought they had included Jose Gregorio and Maria Lionza… I am sure a lot of people in Venezuela don’t know who Allende is… Not sure how effective this whole thing will be… Just time will tell

        • Read Tomás Eloy Martinez’ “Santa Evita” and you’ll see the parallels. And it’s not like Martinez is for Evita being a saint, but he does describe pretty well the efforts to make her a people’s saint as well as the effort (by those who despised her and Peron) to avoid it by stealing the embalmed body.

        • Luis, I know who he is, I didn’t know how he looked, that’s different. But unless they changed the program, you don’t learn contemporary Argentinian history in high school and our % of college graduates is still low or of very low quality. It’s true, I don’t have numbers but my logic is not based on believing people are like me, quite the contrary those of us who can communicate fluently in english and spend our time reading and debating about politics are a tiny majority.

          • woa, I’ve gotta call, what the fuck??? on this one. sorry. Allende, not Argentinian. and please tell me you were joking. yes, please be joking. ok.

          • Luis, I am so sorry, that was an awful blunder. I can only blame my baby brain, at 34 weeks my brain is not interested in anything but finishing the job at hand and even distinguishing left from right takes a lot of effort. It was sincerely an honest mistake, I’ve read about both Peron and Allende and somehow managed to switch the country. Look I see your point, they are trying to get him to the pantheon of lefties heroes, some of them not really from the left. My point is, the cult like reference would be more potent if it was related to the Santeria. They don’t teach it in school but the syncretic religious education in Venezuela starts really early, at the “echarle el agua” to a new born, ceremony usually conducted by the barrio sorcerer/witch. There are as many stores selling magical potions as churches and at least one member of the family will likely have an “altar” with Jose Gregorio, Maria Lionza, Negro primero and some manifestation of the virgin. That’s why even though I also find the video pathetic I’m not convinced it is part of the Demi god narrative.

        • Chamo por que Juan Peron doesn’t have a musical written by Andrew Lloyd Webber….get your pen out ‘Juancho’ the musical

    • Isn’t the first woman in the back Luisa Caceres de Arismendi? That would make sense seeing as she’s a “revolutionary”.

      • No, the woman in the back is Evita Perón, by her hairstyle, light-coloured hair, and earlish-20th century clothing. Luisa Caceres de Arismendi was from an era, about 100 years earlier. Her husband, General Juan Bautista Arismendi, was Bolívar’s general in Nueva Esparta. LCdA’s revolutionary act was in not revealing her husband’s whereabouts to Spanish soldiers who captured and jailed her, in spite of her pregnancy, the events leading to the birth of a stillborn baby. The story gets harrowing subsequently. She was my great-great grandmother.

        • I grant you the hair differential, but like Ms. Garcia, I thought the video was more of a religious/Venezuela-Gran Colombia thing (excluding Che); I even confused Allende for Jose Gregorio (sin sombrero, which admittedly, I haven’t seen him represented as such previously). My wife told me her story when we went to the Panteon some years back (given the lack of female representation there) and why she was included on the bolivar notes. Given the spectacular quality of the animation, I thought the dress looked reminiscent enough of the 19th century that it would be comparable. So I just connected tenuous dots.

          Even so, impressive heritage you have there. I also see where the feistiness comes from.

          • The honour is hers (and her husband’s) alone. I probably have my little share of genes, but also those of not a few others. Una mezcolanza, puej.

        • I wonder who made the video.
          On the phony use of alpargatas …
          Ningún madurista puede ser Venezolano, lo que si son unos castristas cubiche disfrazados de alpargatas con frases nacionalistas para engañar

          • The video was made in-house by the Animation Lab of the New Contents Department of ViVe Television, a state TV channel mostly focused on cultural and ideological stuff.

  2. This video is masterful , sirupy , moving and at the exact intellectual level which Chavez most common supporters can appreciate !!

  3. I think if all those people were together they’d more likely be having an argument, if not a fight. Bolivar welcoming Chavez, standing next to Evita Peron? Che Guevera would probably be putting some of them on trial as enemies of the people as well.

    • Wonder why no one ever mentions that Zamora was totally opposed to the ‘reelection’ of rulers’ , however popular.

      • Now Che did smoke pot for his asthma but he never was a coke head per say and he had more in common with them than you know, at least he was not a Stalinist (who would have had y’all shot) and was reading Trotsky’s history of the revolution revolution when the Bolivian military and CIA opp’s caught up with him.

        I kinda liked the video and shed a tear but for a better analysis, this man will be your way this week which will thrill Tal Caul editor Teodoro Petkoff to no end, if he is out of the hospital yet and of course many other the oppo’s newspapers and i know the bureaucracy will hate it also.

        Alan Woods on the life of Hugo Chavez and the future of the Venezuelan Revolution

        • Yes, Che smoked Marijuana for his asthma. What a laugh. Back when I smoked up I need an inhaler directly afterwards, and other people I know who smoked who also had asthma did the same. Perhaps if Che ate it, or used a vaporizer I’d buy it, but quite frankly he probably just liked toking up.

          • I am sure in some medical marijuana clinic in San Francisco, there’s a new strain being sold to the hard left anti-establishment types: MariGuevara. Each purchase of 4 ounces or more comes with a nice t-shirt from the gap.

            I know that THC does have bronchodilatory effects (the cool stuff you learn as a para paying your way through college), but the delivery method via inhalation of smoke is, well, counterproductive to asthmatics. Especially when you introduce other potential pollutants.

            I’ve always suspected that, at some point, some bright soul, probably while high, connected the general anti-establishment nature of pot smoking with the anti-establishment posterchild, Che. The whole thing reeks of a 1980s or 1990s story when he was at the height of popularity in the U.S. Urban legend, internet rumor, undisputed truth – anything is possible thanks to them thar intertubes.

            Just need to conflate a well known truth with a bit of wishful thinking and voila. Of course, Venezuelans know this methodology better than most, since successive governments have been at that butter churn for, well, 30, 40 years?

            I’ve never seen any real (i.e. non-suspect/non-biased) evidence in the 26 seconds of intensive research I did on google, nor via the handful of books I’ve read on/about/involving him. And a mind-altering substance while on the revolutionary trail seems kind of unlikely for a guy who would abstain from alcohol for months, if not years, while recruiting/training/fighting.

          • I wondered about that, too, ND, when I came upon the asthma factoid in the movie, The Motorcycle Diaries. In the special features of the DVD, there’s an interview of Ché’s daughter, Aleida Guevara, who also appears in the credits as a consultant on the film. You know you’re going to get a sanitized version of reality, if not a truncated history, when Aleida herself has expressed her interest in maintaining the idealistic image of her father. .

            You can be sure that Ché’s mercenary exploits would never appear as part of the story. Nor would his squirrelly behaviour, as noted by Swiss photographer, René Burri, who in 1963, was in Havana, on assignment for Look magazine with the interviewing journalist, Laura Bergquist. This was the second time Burri met Ché, the first time, a year earlier in New York, just after the Bay of Pigs invasion. But I digress…

            Burri captures the then 35-year old Ché in various poses, including one where he lights up a cigar and puffs on it with gusto. I realize you don’t normally inhale cigar smoke, but you do inhale to light it up, and you are dealing with a smoke environment that surely can’t be beneficial to asthmatic lungs, if that’s indeed what Ché had.

            These photographs, taken just before Ché Guevara went underground, are reproduced, along with the story behind them, in one of my favourite little books, Photo Icons (taschen).

            Accordingly, it states, “Che made, in fact, a nervous, driven impression on the photographer. Later Burri would compare him to a caged animal, a metaphor which supports the closed Venetian blind.” (paranoia? – more on Burri’s impressions here: ) “Che saw his place in the armed struggle, not behind a desk, and it not be much longer before a speech critical of the Soviet Union would marginalize him politically at home and make him decide to leave Cuba.”

            My comment on Ché getting high on cocaine may not be accurate. However, in 1966-67, he was training cadres in the Bolivian jungle to deal with hunger and thirst. Given the known properties of the coca leaf, the comments from Burri, and Guevara’s manic obsession to create revolutionaries in the Bolivian jungle, I assumed that cocaine might have been a part of the overall picture.

            Apologies for the length of this comment.

        • Anyone else ever notice that Cort is like that little old viejita that just discovered email and forwards you all these links to useless sites? “Yes, that’s all very well and good but here, let me show you this long tract on Marxism and its virtues”. Like a Red Jehovah’s Witness.

  4. Is it a sign of the youn generations losing hope that I laughed continuously, with honest appreciation?

    I mean, for all I can tell, the guys from King of The Hill **did** make this, with theiir usual objective of getting good laughs.

    The expressions are incredible.

  5. I am worried, extremely I must say. Today I have heard like three or four stories like: “I was in the subway and a guy was wearing Henrique’s cap, and two old women began kicking him just for wearing the cap. People reacted telling the guy that he was crazy wearing that when Chavistas were so deep in mourning”

    This Caribbean fascism is getting out of control.

    • Violence is the eloquence of the intellectually mute , of people who lack the capacity to formulate rational thoughts or arguments in their minds and must substitute them with theatrically cosmetized rages and primitive ‘huge hearted’ sentiments.. Two old ladies kicking a guy , for wearing a cap , there is an example for you of Chavista dialogue!!


      My reply would have been that they can wallow in their authoritarianism all they like if that is how they get their kicks but I reserve the right not be sad, if I am not sad, and the right to celebrate death shall I see fit to do so.Respect for their feelings does not mean I have to feel the same way.Here is what I consider to be a nice way of celebrating someone’s death and I hope it will be what my loved ones do when I die.But for those who want to mourn: go right head.

    • Is there a market in Venezuela for a reversible cap? Or, given the digital age, one that lights up different LED letterings at the flip of a switch?

      • Yes to both, but, unfortunately domestic production will be highly limited due to lack of parts for manufacture and some quirky labor issues involving being stuck with poor employees forever and ever and ever.

        Importing is possible and China seems a willing partner, but they don’t seem thrilled at the notion of exchanging petroleo para gorras.

  6. I just have to say that I just got the paperback version of your book and I’m stupidly excited. This is when you know 1) you’re obsessed with Venezuela and 2) reading tremendous analysis from a superb blog. Thanks again for editing the book and covering this stuff so intensely over the last decade!

  7. What I’m not sure, and you have touched on it in the past, is whether profligacy is a honored sport of the Chavismo cult. Perhaps part of the “savage” part of the culture.

  8. On an non-related note, does anyone know if/when Datanaisis, C21, Interlaces, etc will be publishing results of national polls on presidential elections?

  9. Looks similar to this scene:

    I guess Hugo is Yoda….
    Fidel will be Ob1

    (George Lucas should get on the phone with his lawyers)

  10. The funniest thing is that in 100 years Chavez will be a footnote in history, one of the last governors of a country that no longer exists – as someone said here once, Brazil and Colombia will border the Orinoco. I think that’s why Brasilians stand by and watch in awe as we become a non viable state….mark my words

  11. So, about the video — what about many tens of thousands of Venezuelans murdered during Chavez’s watch? They’re not “up there”, too? Or, it’s like, only special people who get to hang?

    • I wondered about that too. I guess somehow the classless society doesn’t extend to the afterlife… I also wonder where everyone else is supposed to go.

      Here’s an alternative, more democratic ending

    • … and really now I am off-topic but that’s what watching monty python will do to you… life’s lessons courtesy of the pythons:

  12. Seems to me there are ten apostles waiting for Chavez. He will make eleven. Nicolas will make twelve. Which one is going to be the Judas? Who will really betray Venezuela?

      • Che represents Castro, he (Castro) will never be one of the Pantheon. Maduro will be a true marter after he is tried and convictened (by the die hards only).
        If anyone has ever read the Asimov Foundation trillogy – Chaves is the unexpected “Mule”


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