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.”
Copyright © 2014 euronewsMore about:
- 1Putin takes control of Russia’s defence industries and calls for new weapons
- 2Watch: Angry mob throw Ukraine MP into rubbish bin
- 3Russia: new EU sanctions look ‘strange’ says Putin
- 4Young American sentenced to six-years hard labour in North Korea
- 5Family tragedy shocks America after father kills five children
- 1Podemos: Spanish indignation in Brussels’ corridors of power | euronews, reporter
- 2Israel announces it will seize 400 acres in West Bank | euronews, world news
- 3Japan sounds bluefin warning, calls for 50% catch cut | euronews, world news
- 4Hoverbike on the horizon | euronews, hi-tech
- 5China executes eight Muslims convicted of terrorism | euronews, world news
- 63D printing: a driving force in design and engineering | euronews, hi-tech
- 7Watch: Angry mob throw Ukraine MP into rubbish bin | euronews, world news
- 8Ukraine accuses Russian aid convoy of stealing factory equipment | euronews, world news
- 9#ن: How an Arabic letter was reclaimed to support Iraq’s persecuted Christians | euronews, world news
- 10Young Yazidi girl escapes Islamic State kidnappers | euronews, world news
- 11New car offers freedom for disabled drivers | euronews, hi-tech
- 12EU leaders name Donald Tusk European Council president | euronews, world news
- 13The business benefits of EU chemical regulation | euronews, business planet
- 14Turkish ferry makes high-speed final landing | euronews, no comment
- 15Risk of fresh ash cloud threatens European air travel | euronews, world news
- 16Canada sends hilarious barb to Russia over Ukraine ‘incursions’ | euronews, world news
- 17Man, 27, fails in suicide bid after tigers reject chance to eat him | euronews, world news
- 18Iceland warns Europe’s airlines of possible volcanic eruption | euronews, world news
- 19Thousands of Catalans call for choice on split from Spain | euronews, world news
- 20Iceland puts on a show as two of its volcanoes spew out lava | euronews, world news
Wires > News
- 19:08 CET War may make hundreds of thousands of young Syrians stateless
- 18:42 CET France drops case against Iranian dissidents after 11-year probe
- 18:41 CET West African powerhouse Ivory Coast battles to keep out Ebola
- 18:31 CET Ukraine PM tells army to be on full battle alert despite ceasefire
- 18:19 CET Libyan PM seeks to reassert authority as oil production is hit
- 17:29 CET Exclusive – Iraqi Kurdistan oil heads to Asia, in talks with China
- 17:12 CET France’s Hollande heads for showdown over job deregulation drive
- 17:07 CET Sweden’s Social Democrats want cross-party help to counter…