Revolutionary begins with a historical snapshot of Venezuela’s early years.
“The only period of stability Venezuela had was from 1961 to 1998, and this is precisely the period [Chavez] demonized,” says Clark, adding that those were the years when he lived in the country. The book soon reunites with its subject, a man whose proclamations and actions often beggar belief. The Chavez regime leans heavily on nepotism, strong-arm tactics, and a stranglehold on media outlets to maintain its power.
Clark, who provides video links at the back of his book to many of the sources he cites, says it’s easy for some to laugh off Chavez’s ego-driven rants:
He’s so clownish. It’s hard not to point that out. I don’t want to blunt the force of the other side. He is dangerous. … Here’s a man who has confessed to a deep hatred of the West and, above all, the U.S.
And Chavez has plenty of oil at his disposal and routinely gobbles up missiles, tanks, and rifles to bulk up his army.
I don’t have the evidence but you have to be a fool to not realize Chavez would want to give it to [Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad.
Clark isn’t an investigative reporter or a detective. He found much of the material for the book online, thanks to documents available for anyone to see. “It’s all in the public record,” he says.
Clark uses a pen name to protect family members still living in Venezuela. He doesn’t fear for their lives, but he notes in the book that the Chavez administration can make life difficult for those who dare to criticize the country’s leader.
Chavez returned briefly to the news a few weeks ago when he addressed the United Nations. The speech, full of the leader’s bloviations, got little coverage in the U.S. media. Clark says:
If you had a screenplay and the head of state said imbecilic things it wouldn’t work. It’s not credible.
Clark hopes his book will be part of an overall process to make people realize the full scope of Chavez’s reign and its implications. He isn’t optimistic:
He’ll continue arming himself, creating trouble. At some point it’s no longer possible to ignore him, but by then worse suffering will be caused.