|About the Book|
The demagogic Hugo Chavez routinely rails against neo-liberalism, globalization, and free-market capitalism in an effort to counter the U.S. influence in the Western Hemisphere. He plans to export his Bolivarian Revolution to other Latin American countries like Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua. Since winning the presidential election in 1998, Chavez has been successful in conducting his Bolivarian social experiment by providing education and health programs to the masses in Venezuela, funded by the countrys oil revenue. Chavez understands that oil can be a geopolitical weapon that can be wielded to realize his vision of 21st Century Socialism, establish Venezuela as the regional hegemon, decrease dependence on the United States, and further integrate South American countries. In addition to strengthening ties with leftist-populist regimes in Latin America, Chavez has also formed informal alliances with Iran and purchased billions of dollars of military equipment from Russia. In light of these recent developments, the United States should consider the implications of Venezuelas influence on Latin American leftist-populist governments and how it affects security in the Western Hemisphere. If the United States wishes to protect its interests and promote stability in the Latin American region, it should first determine the level of threat before deciding on the appropriate course of action. Specifically, the United States should ask the following questions: How should Venezuelas actions shape U.S. strategy and foreign policy in the region? Do the ties between Iran, Venezuela and other Latin American leftist-populist governments (e.g., Bolivia, Ecuador, and Nicaragua) pose a strategic security threat to the United States? How should the United States respond? To that end, this research paper will address these questions by examining the historical background of Venezuela and other leftist-populist governments while focusing on their leadership.