Magazine August 28, 2017, Issue

The Agony of Venezuela

Protesters take cover in Caracas, July 28. (Carlos Becerra/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
How a prospering democracy sank into dictatorship and hunger

Closing a speech that was as emotional as it was endless, the president invoked Shakespeare’s The Tempest. In the play’s opening scene, a boatswain dares to defy the wind as the storm gathers: “Blow, till thou burst thy wind, if room enough!” The charismatic leader then paraphrased the bard: “Blow, hard wind, blow, hard tempest, I have [a constitutional] assembly to withstand you!” The crowd was enraptured.

The year was 1999, and Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, shortly after his election victory the previous December, was asking the assembly to deliver a new, “eternal” constitution. He put himself at the “mercy” of

Pierpaolo Barbieri is the executive director of Greenmantle. His book, Hitler’s Shadow Empire: The Nazis and the Spanish Civil War, is out in paperback from Harvard University Press.

In This Issue

Articles

Features

Books, Arts & Manners

Sections

Letters

Letters

College as Experiment Oren Cass makes a strong case (“Teaching to the Rest,” July 31) that many of today’s high-school students would be better off taking career training instead of college ...
The Week

The Week

‐ Looks like Google dropped its “Don’t be evil” motto just in time. ‐ The personnel crises of the Trump administration are like groupies: There are so many, who can remember ...
Poetry

Poetry

AMONG OTHERS Working alone in the house, I look to the solitary sculls passing on the river for a sense that I am among others. The geese— my dogs—convene in the yard near the water. A summer in ...

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