In a different era, he might have been called a fascist. After all, Hugo Chávez was an anti-Semitic demagogue and chauvinistic nationalist who hated Israel, hated the United States, hated democracy, and favored state control of the economy. A onetime paratrooper and failed coup leader, Chávez aggressively militarized Venezuelan society, creating pro-government citizen brigades to serve as his own praetorian guard and arming them with Russian-made assault rifles. He threatened neighboring countries and constantly warned of looming foreign invasions. He promulgated wild conspiracy theories about Jews and Americans. He befriended the most reactionary and fascistic governments on earth, including the theocracy in Iran, the gangster regime in Russia, and the racist Mugabe dictatorship in Zimbabwe.
I’m happy to call him one in this era. And he is living proof of Jonah Goldberg’s thesis.