El Comandante Makes it to the US Elections

Years after his passing, and thousands of miles from his home, El Comandante lives on... To our shame.


A couple of weeks ago, the Latino branch of the Democratic National Committee released this web ad, comparing Donald Trump to the late comandante eterno. Not long after, this piece was released:

 They… don’t pull any punches.  
Even if the Republican nominee has used Venezuela as an example of what would happen if Hillary Clinton wins on November 8th, our country has been low in the list of campaign issues. The closest we’ve come was Trump’s insane beef with Alicia Machado after Hillary brought her up in the first debate. (For the record, Machado recently introduced Hillary in a Florida rally). 
Guess who didn’t like the ad? Foreign Minister Delcy Rodriguez. And she ranted a lot about it on Twitter: Beside condemning what she called an “unexplainable and aberrant video”, she accused the Democrats of “irrational and racist arrogance from a party that doesn’t care for their voters”.  
She also attacked the U.S. electoral system, by linking articles of… wait for it… Russia Today.  Telesur got involved later with a list of five reasons of why Trump = Chavez is just nonsense. 
No official response from the Trump-Pence campaign, but Hillary Clinton’s running mate, 
Senator Tim Kaine was asked about the spot during an interview with CNN en Español. Even if he admits not seeing the ad (posted hours before the interview), he showed concern about the situation in Venezuela and said at the time that the U.S. along with the OAS must help to support democracy.  
As election day gets near in the U.S. of A., the issue has not fully gone away: CNN en Español made a report about how Venezuelans think of this comparison. Author and journalist Ioan Grillo offered his view in an opinion piece for the New York Times, which includes the overall effects of populism on both Latin America and North America.  
Reporting on Latin America and sitting in news conferences with Mr. Chávez, Mr. Trump and Mr. López Obrador over the years, I have been cautious about using the populist label flippantly. That said, given the particular flavor of the current political turmoil, there’s obviously an authentic phenomenon that we have to come to terms with, however tricky to define. Whoever wins the election, Mr. Trump has changed American politics.
One reason the populist strategy is effective is that it does touch on certain truths. Washington is corrupted by special interests. Latin American governments do suffer immense corruption. However, Venezuela shows that a populist strategy can lead to an even worse alternative. That is a worthwhile lesson when considering where Mr. Trump’s blaming the media, crying of fraud and assault on judges could take us.” 
The whole Trump = Chavez argument isn’t new and Caracas Chronicles has its share of articles about that, but as Quico recently wrote for Post Global Opinions, perhaps those comparing are really missing the mark: Donald Trump isn’t like Hugo Chavez. He’s more like Nicolás Maduro.