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                 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 often do we come across a book of non-fiction in which virtually every sentence, not just every page, carries an unexpected image or evocative turn of phrase? Carroll takes the prize on this count. —THE FINANCIAL TIMES​

Carroll’s book should serve as a useful reminder of what el Comandante did and didn’t achieve, how he got away with it and the danger of statesmen-as-showmen whose promises are too good to be true. —THE NEW YORK TIMES

...that dripping lift, the law passed to make the horse on the nation’s coat-of-arms face left, the panic among flunkeys when Mr Chávez briefly decided that there was too much red around and started wearing yellow. These snippets, collected by Mr Carroll... are woven into a compelling story that comes close to answering the riddle of Mr Chávez. —THE ECONOMIST​​

​...An immensely gifted journalist, Carroll has

broken new ground with this splendid political biography.” 

—Michael Shifter


  Spanish  by  Sexto piso​​​ ​​

  Mandarin  by  ​Electric Power Press​ 

  Italian by  ​​Newton Compton

  Portuguese  by  Intrinseca​ ​

  Polish  by  Znak

  Estonian  by  Kunst

Chinese and Japanese​​​

From the author 

Comandante was published in March 2013, the same week Hugo Chávez died. The timing was a fluke – the book’s release had been planned months in advance – but felt apposite. The book is a biography of a man and an idea, both died that week. Chavismo was a populist experiment that promised to harness oil wealth for progressive causes in Venezuela and across the world, where it would challenge US hegemony. Chávez had political smarts, a showman’s charisma, and luck. Oil revenues soared during his reign. Millions of Venezuelans adored him. So did many foreigners. Academics, writers, politicians, activists, movie directors, all flocked to Caracas to laud the comandante.  ​ I was based in Caracas as the Guardian's Latin America bureau chief from 2006 – 2012, affording a ringside seat to a slow-motion fiasco that ruined Venezuela. State-run farms and factories, schools and hospitals, villages and barrios, Chávez’s gimcrack presidential palace, Miraflores, all showed a country succumbing to corruption, mismanagement and authoritarianism. Yet Chávez’s allure endured. He could talk, by God he could talk, and he could distract, deflect, entertain. Even as cancer ravaged his body and Venezuela atrophied the applause continued. Chávez died revered.  ​

Listen to Rory Carroll's

introduction to the book

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