Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Bolivarian Socialism, and Asymmetric Warfare

  • October 01, 2005
  • Dr Max G Manwaring

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Military Review translated this study to Spanish. View the translated study.

The author answers questions regarding "Who is Hugo Chavez?" "How can the innumerable charges and countercharges between the Venezuelan and U.S. governments be interpreted?" "What are the implications for democracy and stability in Latin America?" In an attempt to answer these and related questions, the analysis centers on the contemporary geopolitical conflict context of current Venezuelan "Bolivarian" (bolivarianismo) policy. To accomplish this, a basic understanding of the political-historical context within which Venezuelan national security policy is generated is an essential first step toward understanding the situation as a whole. The second step requires an introductory understanding of Chavez's concept of 21st century socialism, and the political-psychological-military ways he envisions to achieve it. Then, a levels of analysis approach will provide a systematic understanding of the geopolitical conflict options that have a critical influence on the logic that determines how such a policy as bolivarianismo might continue to be implemented by Venezuela or any other country in the contemporary world security arena. At the same time, this analysis provides an understanding of how other countries in the Western Hemisphere and elsewhere might begin to respond to bolivarianismo's possible threats. Finally, this is the point from which one can generate strategic-level recommendations for maintaining and enhancing stability in Latin America.