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www.texasobserversorg 1.800939.6620 Brazos Bookstore 2421 Bissonnet Houston 713.523.0701 BRAZOS BOOKSTORE ttspOPi o wow, Come to a book reading & signing with Lou Dubose the capital of Caracas, he carried with him The Diary of Che Guevara. But his admiration of Bolivar is such that many people who know Chavez say it borders on “delirium:’ “I Hugo Chavez, am not a Marxist, but I’m also not an anti-Marxist. I am not a communist, but I am not an anticommunist … I am neither left-wing nor right-wing,” he has said. “I am a Bolivarian.” It wasn’t until 2005 that Chavez declared himself a socialist, invoking a 21st century socialism model that remains in its infant stage. But it clearly rests on Bolivar. “What we propose is the idea of reclaiming this primordial notion, beneath the aegis of which our Republic was born. Simon Bolivar’s idea,” said Chavez in the Argentine newspaper La Nacion. “We don’t need to go around copying other models from other latitudes. … Bolivar had a pluripolar vision of the world.” From the biography, it appears Chavez’s political ideas were crystallized at the military academy, where he and a group of friends created a left-wing workers party called the Radical Cause. As a sublieutenant, he graduated eighth in a class of 75 students in 1975 with degrees in military sciences and art, concentrating in engineering, land management, and communication, at which he excelled. During these years Chavez’s nationalism and anti-Americanism began to emerge, the writers note. But he was still hard to pin down. “As far as anyone knows, Hugo Chavez began to lead a double life when he was around twenty-three,” the authors write. “In the presence of military superiors, he would feign obedience and discipline. With his family, he pretended to be ‘neutral,’ as his mother put it, exhibiting no interest in politics. In his clandestine life, however, he was another person entirely, forging ties with left-wing activists, debating Venezuela’s political future.” At the time, Chavez’s older brother Adan, the one he grew up with in his grandmother’s house, was a physics professor and activist in the Movement of the Revolutionary Left, a political party formed after Castro visited Venezuela in 1959. The long-haired, bearded ideologues didn’t mix well with Chavez’s uniform and short hair, but through Adan ties were established. “We met on the basis of structuring a civilian-military movement that would make long-term plans for a revolutionary insurrection,” Adan said. In the early 1980sthe writers say the date is hard to ascertainChavez as a military instructor created the Bolivarian Revolutionary Army with a team of similar-thinking army officers, Francisco Arias, air force Maj. William Izarra, and loyal cadets. Chavez’s Bolivarian Revolution came to a head during the second term of Perez, who was re-elected president in 1989. Perez, the son of a coffee plantation owner who became politically OCTOBER 19, 2007 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 23