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Author Archive | Chris Gilbert

Strike at the Helm?  Clamors from a Makeshift Raft

In a cabinet meeting in October 2012, months before his death, Hugo Chávez declared that the Bolivarian process needed to make a radical change of course, literally calling for a “golpe de timón” or “strike at the helm.”  From that moment forward the slogan “golpe de timón” began to circulate in the most varied contexts […]

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Chavism Loses a Battle — Can It Recover and Rectify?

Chavism received a serious blow in the parliamentary elections this last Sunday, December 6. The strength of the blow is such that the movement is still reeling. The Venezuelan opposition, loosely organized in an electoral bloc called the Democratic Unity Roundtable (MUD), achieved not just a majority of seats in the National Assembly but also […]

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To Recover Strategic Thought and Political Practice

It is common to understand the diverse “processes” in Latin America — in the period marked initially by Zapatismo in the mid-1990s and later by the emergence of left or popular governments in Venezuela, Bolivia, and Ecuador along with center-left governments in Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina — within the theoretical framework of a return or […]

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The Americas Summit on the Border of an Imperialist Abyss

Two features of contemporary imperialism are key to explaining the importance — or actually the relative unimportance — of the VII Summit of the Americas (organized by the OAS) recently held in Panama.  One is that, in the post-World War II period, imperialism has operated in a context defined by the prevalence of relatively sovereign […]

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The Light Brigade: Cuban Doctors Fight Ebola

The Ebola epidemic . . . whereas most of the world tightens frontier control and essentially flees from the problem, Cuba opens a new chapter of solidarity and faces the danger.  By sending 255 doctors and nurses to West Africa to deal with the latest Ebola outbreak, the heroic island — with few resources except […]

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Venezuela: Making Peace . . . With Capitalism?

It was shortly after Moses’s encounter with the Burning Bush that God promised to take the people of Israel to the land of milk and honey.  God, who could be extremely cryptic in his explanations (“I am that I am”), did not beat around the bush when it came to capturing his audience.  For that […]

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The Dead and the Quick: Hugo Chávez and His Project

Praise, especially when empty, is often a way of dismissing a revolutionary historical figure more than preserving his legacy.  That is what Lenin said about Marx: by making Marx into an icon, people had castrated and corrupted his thought. The late Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez has also fallen prey to this common practice that polishes […]

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Refrigerator Wars: The Revolution Goes Back in Action

The Venezuelan state is intervening in retail businesses around the country, principally those that trade in domestic appliances.  This apparently modest decision, taken a week ago, has set in motion an interesting process of push and pull.  Long lines outside the intervened stores and some disorder inside meet with predictable outcry about “mobs” and “communism” […]

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Chávez’s Leninism

In the many homages to Hugo Chávez in recent weeks, there is an important element that suffers almost complete neglect.  For want of a better term we could call it “Leninism.”  By this, of course, I do not mean the tired, formulaic (and basically anti-Leninist) doctrine that generally bears that name.  It is precisely the […]

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“Por Ahora”: A Few Words for Hugo Chávez

Caracas, March 6, 2013 Hugo Chávez, who died yesterday afternoon, was something of an Emersonian hero.  “Speak your latent conviction,” said the sage of Concord, “and it shall be the universal sense.” Chávez said things that other people thought, or at least recognized that they thought after he said them. One could say that he […]

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