In short, Chavez was a complicated, larger-than-life man. A 2001 profile in the New Yorker described him as “a hyperkinetic and imprudent man, unpunctual, someone who overreacts to criticism, harbors grudges, is politically astute and manipulative, and possesses tremendous stamina, never sleeping more than two or three hours a night.”
Likewise, Chavez was a constant pain for the United States, which bought vigorously from his nation’s oil reserves and grimaced from his seemingly constant verbal attacks on American-style democracy. Suffice it to say that his death, while unfortunate from a human standpoint, will not bring mourning from the U.S. State Department or the White House. That’s what happens when world leaders openly cavort with men such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Cuba’s Fidel Castro and Libya’s Col. Muammar Qaddafi.
Because of Venezuela’s vast energy resources and that nation’s Chavez-caused influence in Central America, the United States and its allies should watch warily from afar as Venezuelans select their next president. The best choice for Venezuela and the world would be for someone much less like the egotistical Chavez and more like a leader whose main focus is improving the lives of those under his political control.