Hugo Chavez Essay

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“The Politics of Hugo Chavez and the Bolivian Revolution”

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez assumed office as President of the Republic of Venezuela on February 2, 1999. Chavez had been elected the previous year running on a platform of "new" ideas he termed Bolivarianism.   As leader of the so-called Bolivarian Revolution; Chavez cast himself as the heir to the legacy of famed South American liberator and patriot, Simon Bolivar. The root idealogy of Bolivarianism depends on a decidedly Marxist interpretation of some of the actions and views of Simon Bolivar during and immediately following his participation in the South American Wars of Independence, at least according to Chavez. The use of the aristocratic Bolivar as a socialist warrior in the class struggle is peculiar when considering Marx's own writings on Bolivar, whom he dismissed as a false liberator who merely sought to preserve the power of the old Creole nobility to which he belonged. Due to Chavez's appropriation of Bolivar, both the name and as a potent political symbol; as well as his asserted claims of being Bolivar's political heir, it is necessary to compare the beliefs and political views of Bolivar contained in his own writings and the ideology most Venezuelans call "Chavismo" or Chavezism far more often than they call it Bolivarianism. When considered under this level of scrutiny; it becomes apparent that the philosophy so often described by the Venezuelan leader as "Bolivarian Socialism for the 21st Century," is neither from the 21st century nor Bolivarian. The state espoused by Chavez is the antithesis of the model republic envisioned by Bolivar and is instead an exemplary model of an older system of government: Bonapartism.
Simon Bolivar was born in Caracas, the Spanish Vice Royalty of New Grenada (modern Venezuela) to a vastly wealthy family that was part of the Spanish colonies dominant Creole Nobility. Bolivar's family earned vast amounts of wealth due to their ownership massive sugar...

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