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A journalistic view of life in Venezuela under the Hugo Chávez regime. 

An eagle does not hunt flies,” Chávez once remarked by way of refusing to debate a challenger for the Venezuelan presidency. That, according to former Guardian Latin American bureau chief Carroll, is one of el presidente’s terser comments. more

THE GUARDIAN - "Hugo Chávez: the best books on the late Venezuelan leader​​​"

Employing a mix of firsthand observations, informative interviews and a commentary on Chávez's lengthy TV appearances, Carroll gets as close as any outsider to life inside the palace. What emerges is a portrait of a politician with a magnetic people's touch but a woeful grasp of management.​​​"... more  

What people are saying about Comandante

“This is a terrific read: funny, constantly informative about Hugo Chávez and the Venezuela he has created, and sure to annoy a great many people.”
—Alma Guillermoprieto, author of Dancing with Cuba.

“Rory Carroll’s brilliant portrait of Chávez reads like a fast-paced novel of ego run amok, an ego that happens to be attached to a masterful politician, a dynamo of energy and charisma, and a colossus of managerial ineptitude. Comandante is by turns heartbreaking, maddening, absurd, and surreal, a truly epic story of promise squandered and opportunities lost.”

—Ben Fountain, author of Brief Encounters with Che Guevara

A close look at the most controversial yet fascinating figure in Latin American politics today. Rory Carroll intelligently lays out the puzzle of Chávez’s idiosyncratic populism for us to judge.”​

Gioconda Belli, author of The Country Under My Skin.

“Rory Carroll’s portrait of Venezuela is as nuanced as it is ultimately chilling. Hugo Chávez’s story perfectly illustrates the fact that all that is necessary for the triumph of demagoguery is for good men to do nothing.”
Michela Wrong, author of In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz.

Rory Carroll was once harangued by Hugo Chávez on his weekly television show, Hello, President. These sharp-eyed sketches of ‘el Comandante’s’ acolytes, former supporters, and courtiers form Carroll’s occasionally mischievous reply. Informed and often funny, it is also a chilling portrait of the cynicism and corruption that have come to characterize Mr. Chávez’s once-charismatic Venezuelan revolution.”

John Paul Rathbone, author of The Sugar King of Havana

With new information and sharp-eyed reporting, Comandante is a riveting account of how Hugo Chávez has held his country in his thrall for fifteen years.”

Michael Reid, author of Forgotten Continent.

In sparkling prose, Rory Carroll goes beyond Chávez’s seductive rhetoric, Manichaean mind-set, and huge appetite for power to highlight the tragic consequences of virtual one-man rule in Venezuela. An immensely gifted journalist, Carroll has broken new ground with this splendid political biography.”

Michael Shifter, president, Inter-American Dialogue.

Rory Carroll is an excellent journalist and gifted storyteller, and in this book he tells the tale of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez with admirable style and insight.
A pleasurable read; highly recommended.”

—Jon Lee Anderson, author of The Fall of Baghdad​​.

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