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The Specter (O Espectro)

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Original Language: Brazilian Portuguese | 240 pp. | 2018

2 Seas represents: World English, Dutch and Nordic rights.

NON-FICTION| POLITICS| BIOGRAPHY 

What led a rich country with the largest oil reserves on the planet and a strategic location to the biggest financial and institutional collapse of the West? The destruction of Venezuela is only the most obvious face of an intricate network of political and criminal organizations that were either created or sponsored by Hugo Chávez as part of his dream of global reengineering. In this book, journalist Leonardo Coutinho reveals based on thousands of document pages, any of them classified, and over one hundred interviews conducted in ten countries — how Hugo Chávez’s fingerprints can be found all over the globe, from the explosion of violence in Central America and Mexico to the funding of terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State (Isis).

Elected in 1998 with the promise to manage Venezuela out of the crisis and with the commitment to bring development to his people, Hugo Chávez wasted the fortune amassed during the oil bonanza financing a world model that was his image: chaotic and subversive. Despite his death, in March of 2013, due to cancer, Chávez continues to “haunt” the world with the destructive effects of his combination of cocaine smuggling, terrorism and corruption. A legacy that President Nicolás Maduro was able to inherit and maintain, leading the country to an unprecedented economic and institutional collapse.

Hugo Chávez’s death was not an end point to his distorted world model. Long-lasting effects of his acts are more noticeable in Venezuela — it’s impossible not to see the image of Chávez in the shipwreck of the economy and the destruction of the democracy of its country — but it is all over the continent. From Rio Grande to the Patagonia the manifestations of his omnipresence are flagrant, as part of his disorganization project called “Socialism of the 21st Century”.

Leonardo Coutinho has been a journalist for twenty years, seventeen of them in Veja magazine, one of the most influential outlets of the Brazilian printed media. Since 2011 he has published several reports on the presence of Islamic extremists in Brazil as well as a series of “scoops” with international reverberation related to Bolivarian governments, such as the recidivism of Chavez’s cancer, the arrest of Nicolás Maduro’s nephews due to cocaine trafficking and the conspiracy between Venezuela, Iran and Argentina to smuggle nuclear secrets.