BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — I loved Comandante Hugo Chavez. I loved him not because I’m some sort of pinko populist, but because he makes teaching Latin American politics so much more fun and fascinating. He provided so many great teaching moments to share with my students.
Since the 2002 coup, he has given me a steady stream of new material. His anti-American, and especially anti-George W. Bush, views became near obsessions. Chavez believed that the United States was plotting to assassinate him, or even launch a full invasion of Venezuela. Now Vice President Nicolas Maduro claims that enemies, including the US, caused Chavez’s cancer.