He was called a "socialist showman" and "elected autocrat", derided as a blind hater of the United States, and ridiculed as a demagogue who splurged his country's great oil wealth on ill-conceived populist schemes, distributed largesse to undeserving regimes in the neighbourhood, ran the nation's economy into the ground, and sharply polarised its society.
Hugo Chavez died on March 5. Heads of state came to his funeral and sent condolences to his family – except for the U.S. president. Even in death the White House maintained a resentful tone toward a man we had named as an enemy. But what did Chavez do to us?
By definition, a revolution is a collective process, not a one-man endeavour. While the social and political legacy of Hugo Chávez is remarkable, the Bolivarian Revolution has been intrinsically tied to him as the leader. With Chávez's death, the Boliviarian Revolution faces a fundamental test.