on 9 October 2000
I am in no way a supporter of Chavez. This was after all a man who caused the ceath of several innocent civillians during the 92 coup attempt. he is also a primarily a soldier and again i have serious reservations about the military taking political control. However, Gott's book was a very refreshing change to the middle class paranoia that abounds around this government. Gott is obviously sympathetic to Chavez and believes him to be a man of integrity. I sincerely hope this to be true. unfortunately Gott does not elaborate on the question marks he himself raises. He mentions people who once supported Chavez but then turned against him without providing the reader sufficient information on which to base an opinion. Chavez's agricultural reforms are unquestioned. Chavez has used the newly homeless to populate the interior, I would have liked to have read intitial feedback from these people. It is by seeing the good and the bad of a political figure that one is able to get a relatively fair picture. This book is very subjective which makes me automatically wary. I appreciate the book was only recently published and so could not give any great details about the role of the military during the December disaster. However, having spent Christmas in Venezuela I know there were many criticisms levelled against the army ranging from incompetence, degenerating into taking part in the looting and forming part of the vigilantiism that reigned in Edo Vargas. I would have liked Gott to address these issues in the book. The leader of the DISIP lost his job because of the shooting of looters, did it stop there? Or should Chavez be justifying the actions of the military? I know this may sound contradictory but it was a very readable book and good to hear somebody defending Chavez, who after all if he truly intends to put into practice his policies will have been the only politician in the last thirty years to have made a positive contribution to the lives of the majority of Venezuelans. It made a refreshing change from the whining of the business interests and magazines such as The Economist.