Ah well, I guess we all saw it coming, except perhaps his government spokesperson. My ole buddy Hugo Chavez up and shuffled off into the afterworld, where he and his beret are probably raising a ruckus and eating a fat steak. Rest in Peace, amigo. And thinking about that steak reminds me of the one thing I'll miss most about ole Hugo: his big, fat mouth. Man that guy could talk. Never mind his multi-hour "Alo Presidente" talk show, a true test in stamina not just for his government sycophants but for the casual listener as well. And he was quick with a snarky comment, too. Man, I still laugh when he got all those Venezuelans to wear t-shirts telling the mother of the King of Spain to shut her mouth. Who says diplomacy is boring?
Still, my loudmouthed friend could have done a bit better. No matter how many times I tell my students to worry about their legacy, it's the area of despotism that's least frequently mastered. And Chavy leaves behind a record that does not guarantee him a statue next to Simon Bolivar's: rotten infrastructure, a totally eviscerated political system, impending chaos, and no clear route to succession (or success!) It will be a while before the public's opinion of ole Fatmouth finally gels. And I'm not sure how it will turn out for him.
Man, it sure is quiet around here suddenly, wouldn't you say?