[This is a translation of Hugo Chávez en 4 preguntas, published by Rafel Uzcátegui at the blog for El Libertario, a Venezuelan anarchist newspaper; it’s the first of a several articles from El Libertario that I hope to translate over the next few days. Inline links are added, and editorial notes are in footnotes or in square braces like these. —CJ]
The journalist Eduardo Sklarz, as part of the preparations for an article on Venezuela, sent me these questions by e-mail. The published article can be found at http://infosurhoy.com/cocoon/saii/xhtml/en_GB/features/saii/features/main/2013/03/06/feature-04.
Q1. What actions do you consider fundamental in Chávez’s political trajectory?
A. When he brought the military into the [failed] coup attempt [against Pérez] in February 1992, and took responsibility for it all in front of television cameras; when he took an accurate reading of the political moment in 1998, abandoning insurrectionary strategies in order to join the electoral battle, during a viable moment for an outsider in politics; the proposal of a constituent process to reform the Constitution in 1999; his performance during the [failed] coup attempt [against him] in 2002; the announcement of the social programs and the missions, in 2004; the development of international politics from 2005-2008; his second presidential re-election.
Q2. Which factors explain his striking consolidation of power?
A. Besides his charisma, he very ably brought back the main sociopolitical matrices of 19th century Venezuelan culture.
Q3. How would you characterize chavismo?
A. A nationalist-populist movement of the left, attuned with economic globalization.
Q4. What legacy has Chávez left to Venezuela?
A. Four things: the myth of saving the poor through redistributing corporate oil profits; a popular cult around his personality with political characteristics; the devastation of the independence of Venezuelan social movements; the senselessness of left-wing discourse.
-  Lit.
emptiness/emptying-out of meaningor