Hugo Chávez passed away in March 2013 after a two-year battle with cancer, prompting much speculation about the impact of his death. What will a post-Chávez future look like, not only in Venezuela but also in the region? In Latin America in the Post-Chávez Era, Luis Fleischman examines Chávez’s highly controversial Bolivarian revolution, which has expanded beyond Venezuela to other countries in South America and whose sphere of influence also extends to Central America and the Caribbean. In this context, the author systematically shows how an emerging authoritarianism in the region plays an important role in defining the geo-political context of the region.
Across Latin America, Chávez had financially supported political candidates or presidents in office dedicated to producing dramatic socialist change, cementing authoritarianism, and reducing American influence in the region. Meanwhile, China’s influence has been increasing and may evolve beyond an economic presence into a more political role. It is in this volatile context that Chávez’s destabilizing activities—including cooperation with regional as well Islamist terrorist organizations, drug cartels, and rogue states, particularly Cuba and Iran—take on ominous proportions. Fleischman argues that the shape of this post-Chávez world is one that Americans should watch with grave concern while taking appropriate measures to counteract Chávez’s legacy.