Former bus driver Nicolas Maduro at the wheel in Venezuela

Friday, 14 December, 2012

Richard Gott, former Latin America correspondent and features editor of the Guardian, resigned from the British newspaper in 1994 after claims that he had been a Soviet “agent of influence”. But you can’t keep a good sympathizer down and Gott regularly resurfaces in the Guardian whenever “the revolution” needs defending. With Hugo Chávez’s Bolívarian revolution will soldier on without him, Gott is now praying that the latest disastrous experiment featuring the concepts of Marx and Lenin will continue.

Much like Iraq under Saddam and Cuba under Castro, Venezuela is a case study in what Nikita Khrushchev called the “cult of personality”. Consequently, the country is ruins. The electricity company no longer delivers power reliably, the oil company presides over falling production, the currency is on the verge of collapsing… But in typical Comical Ali style, Gott writes: “There are no immediate crises in sight and, in spite of alarmist reports in the foreign press, the economy is purring along quite well. After more than a decade on a political roller-coaster, the country will return to a more normal profile.”

The “profile” of poor Venezuela will be determined in the short term by the loyal chav, er, chavista Nicolas Maduro, former bus driver, vice-president since October and foreign minister since 2006. He’s been handed the broken steering wheel just as Venezuela is racing towards the cliff. “There is no turning back,” said Hugo Chavez.

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