Beatriz Lecumberri was the bureau chief for the news organisation Agence France Presse in Caracas between 2008 and 2011, and during that time followed the Chavez phenomenon closely. She also wrote the book, The Sentimental Revolution.
She told euronews: “His illness has come as a big surprise in the first place to Chavez himself, and the heart of his party and the inner government circle of those closest to him.
“It’s something no-one imagined, including Chavez. He’d foreseen all possible scenarios, but not a factor as unpredictable as illness and death, and they have spent a lot of time taking in that possibility.
“Chavez had said ‘I will govern until 2021’, and all of a sudden this appeared in his path, something he cannot control, and that can keep him out of the political scene.
“Venezuelan society is going to take some time to get used to the country without Chavez – both his supporters and opponents.
“He’s a unique president,” Lecumberri went on. “You can’t be indifferent about such a personality. You either love him like mad, or hate him like the plague.
“It’s plain that Chavez IS ‘Chavism’. It’s hugely difficult to maintain this charisma, this omnipresence, this way of doing politics so particular and so focused on one person.
“I think it is possible to continue the Bolivarian revolution without Chavez, but Chavism without him would be quite a different thing – something you would have to re-name.
“Chavez put paid to any doubts about the transition of power when he left for Cuba, saying: ‘I want my successor to be Nicolas Maduro.’
“I think that makes sense because within the party he’s the one most similar to Chavez, even though he doesn’t have the military background like him.
“Nicolas Maduro appears to Venezuelans just like Chavez does.”
- 1Greeks set to vote in knife-edge referendum
- 2Tunisia: State of emergency declared after Islamist terror attack on tourists
- 3Greek debt: who will pay if Greece fails?
- 4Syria: Fierce fighting as Assad army and rebels push to make key gains
- 5The Corinth Canal: a metaphor for the feeling of division in Greece?
- 1Saakashvili warns of Odessa region’s importance to Ukraine
- 2Greece: with referendum looming ‘Yes’ vote ahead, opinion poll suggests
- 3Finland tops European countries in latest happiness survey
- 4Thousands rally in France in support of Greek “no” vote
- 5Tsipras: ‘no’ vote will mean a better deal with lenders
- 1Istanbul Gay pride quashed by riot police, rubber bullets and water cannon
- 2Greek debt: who will pay if Greece fails?
- 3Saakashvili warns of Odessa region’s importance to Ukraine
- 4Tsipras says if Greeks approve the EU’s aid plan, Syriza will resign
- 5Suspect in French beheading attack admits killing his boss
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Spain’s first case of diphtheria in 30 years: parents of six-year-old ‘oppose vaccines’
- 3Greek debt crisis is “absolute supremacy of capital over humans”
- 4[Live updates] NGO flotilla bids to break Israeli blockade of Gaza
- 5[LIVE UPDATES] Greek debt deadline looms
- 6Large Hadron Collider ready to embark on an unprecedented voyage of discovery
- 7Istanbul Gay pride quashed by riot police, rubber bullets and water cannon
- 8[LIVE UPDATES] France: man decapitated, several wounded in chemical plant attack
- 9Israel prepares to repel boarders as ‘Freedom Flotilla 3’ tries to run Gaza blockade
- 10Greek debt summit – Live updates
- 11‘Distractingly sexy’ scientists hit back in lab chemistry polemic
- 12NewsWires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 13Summit up in Brussels as Greek proposals give food for thought and rumours fly
- 14Battle of Waterloo, live-tweeting 200 years on
- 15Greek PM faces day of crucial bailout talks in Brussels
- 16Citizens take power in Spain’s largest cities as a political revolution sweeps the country
- 17Italy discovers biggest illegal waste dump in Europe
- 18Greek debt: who will pay if Greece fails?
- 19Hungary: billboard war sparks international concern
- 20[Latest] AKP loses its majority as Kurdish party enter Turkish Parliament
Wires > News
- 01:50 CET America celebrates July 4 with hot dogs, banners and barbecues
- 01:32 CET China lobbies hard ahead of Manila’s South China Sea arbitration…
- 01:27 CET Small is beautiful, say South Koreans making plans to marry
- 01:06 CET Pope heads to South America to champion the poor and the planet
- 23:03 CET Hillary Clinton accuses China of hacking U.S. computers
- 21:49 CET Suspected Congo Ebola victims test negative for the virus
- 21:21 CET Ecuador’s Correa laments protests ahead of Pope’s visit
- 21:06 CET Hillary Clinton – no substitute for ‘constant engagement’ with…