Shed tears not for Chavez, but for the land he ruined
The Venezuelan leader was an instinctive despot and an economic illiterate, writes Ruth Dudley Edwards
'He was invincible," said Cuban president Raul Castro of Hugo Chavez. "He left victorious and no one can take that away. It is fixed in history." Venezuela's 'Chavistas' will do their damnedest to keep that image alive by embalming their dead leader and promising that -- like Lenin and Mao -- Chavez will be shown to the public "for eternity".
In death, as in life, Chavez is lined up with ruthless totalitarians and self-appointed messiahs of the Left, which -- like having millions of people filing past his coffin -- would make him happy. His own psychiatrist described him as "a narcissist ... impulsive, temperamental, hypersensitive to criticism" and needing "to be idolised".
Christopher Hitchens described Chavez as a politicised necrophiliac, obsessed with Simon Bolivar, a key figure in the successful early-19th-century South American struggle for independence from the Spanish Empire.