Hugo Chavez Signing Autographs at Venice Film Festival

Hugo ChavezHugo Chavez. Man of the people. Enemy of America. Dictator. Movie star?

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in Italy today signing autographs and walking the red carpet to see Oliver Stone’s new documentary South of the Border, which is about Chavez and his strained relationship with the United States.

“What’s happening in Latin America is like a Renaissance,” Chavez told reporters, according to a Reuters article.

It’ll be interesting to see if this movie gets any play in the U.S.; South of the Border is actively selling to distributors in Europe and Latin America, but there’s little love to be found for Chavez here. To me, the guy seems like a crackpot, a dictator wannabe who could very well be if things go his way. History has shown us plenty of men who “fought for the people” only to become their own worst enemy, and many of the things Chavez has done “for the people” in Venezuela are, when all is said and done, not good moves. Sure, my disdain for the man is based on his caricature in Western media, but even with that bias taken into account, I can’t see how this man is good for his country. Basically, as soon as a president attempts to alter the constitution to allow him to remain in power indefinitely, he has destroyed any credibility he once had.

Nevertheless, it will be interesting to see Stone’s viewpoint on the man – and the reactions the film receives in the United States. According to an article published today in Variety, Stone set out to challenge the negative image of the man – whether he actually does so remains to be seen. Stone told Variety:

“I didn’t just want to do a denigration of what the American media says about him. I wanted to take it further and go to seven or eight presidents and ask their views on Chavez. That’s how it became a bit more of a road movie, going from country to country. All these leaders end up coming down favor of Chavez.”

The bigger question: will Chavez’s bloated ego allow him to enjoy the film?

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Movies


  • not to be right winged but everyone that stays in power forever is a dictator…

  • Carlos

    “As soon as a president attempts to alter the constitution to allow him to remain in power indefinitely, he has destroyed any credibility he once had.”

    You don’t live here so it’s natural that you don’t know the whole story about what happens here. Chavez isn’t alowed to remain in power indefinitely like you said. He has to win an election watched by several international organizations every six years to remain in power. In other words he can stay in power as long as we want too.

    It’s not like i hated your article but i just wanted to clarify that with my honest and humble opinion as a citizen of Venezuela that supports President Chávez.

  • Hi Carlos, you’re correct – I wrote that poorly. He wants to alter the constitution to have the chance to stay in power indefinitely; my general viewpoint is, though, that there is a good reason why countries have term limits: the longer that someone stays in power, the harder it is for them to give it up. And when that is the case, you see more manipulation at the top in terms of voting fraud and questionable results. I was happy to see that the people voted against this measure a year or two ago. Even as a supporter of Chavez, would you want him to be president for the next fifty years?

    I appreciate your input – thanks!

  • Natacha

    Carlos I’m sorry, but as a venezuelan and a person who loves her country I have to tell you: “People like you are the reason our country has lost all it once had that was good and just”! Not to say that we were perfect, but really PDVSA is broke, over 130 homicides weekly in our capital alone (with no arrests), no laws or justice!! These are the worst 10 years our country has had! And if we do endure the idiot for 6-12-18 how ever many years morons keep voting for him or he cheats elections, well let’s just say “all the harder to reconstruct our country from inevitable DESTRUCTION”.