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By: Bart Jones

1) The ruling elites in Venezuela and the United States are keen to paint Chavez as the heir to Castro, but the truth is more complex and more interesting. 2) The Ch vez that emerges from Jones' account is neither a plaster saint nor a revolutionary tyrant. He is a master politician and an inspired improviser, a Bolivarian nationalist and an unashamed socialist.

His policies have brought him into conflict with the IMF and World Bank, major oil companies and the USA. 3) They have also provided a model for new governments and social movements in Ecuador, Bolivia and Argentina. 4) When in December 2006 he declared at the UN that 'the devil came here yesterday .

the President of the United States', it was clear that, right or wrong, one man was taking on the might of most powerful nation on earth, in conscious imitation of the Liberator, SimA n Bol var.