Posted BY: Lawrence A. Clayton

That’s the origin of Venezuela’s name: “Little Venice.”  And for you journalist mavens, here’s your quick quiz of the week.  Who is the most famous man in Venezuela or her history?  A. Nicolás Maduro, B. Hugo Chávez, C. Simón Bolívar, D. Fidel Castro.  Any choice but Simón Bolívar is wrong, really wrong.  Go get a good book on Latin American history.  Try A New History of Modern Latin America from the University of California Press.  It’s surprisingly good, and I know some of the authors.  They would appreciate your interest.

Venezuela is in the news this past month.  In fact, it has been in the news for a few years now, since Hugo Chávez came to power in the late 1990s with a nationalist, socialist agenda.  Chávez swept away much of Venezuela’s wealth in an explosion of populist socialism whose legacy is a nearly bankrupt nation today.  Chávez died of cancer in 2013, and his old chauffeur, Nicolás Maduro, succeeded his chief and continued his march to communism.

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