Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Hugo Chavez returns to life in TV show criticized by allies

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Colombia’s actor Andrés Parra plays the role of Venezuela’s former President Hugo Chávez during the filming of ‘El Comandante’ in Bogotá, Colombia.


The revolution will now be televised.

The life of Hugo Chavez, who mesmerised Venezuela's impoverished masses before dying of cancer in 2013, is being dramatised in a Spanish-language TV series that is generating a backlash even before it airs.

Produced by Sony Pictures Television, El Comandante premieres this week throughout Latin America, and in the spring, will be broadcast in the US by the Telemundo network.

Conceived by a staunch Chavez critic, the 60-episode series aims to retell the leftist leader's improbable rise to power from his roots in poor, rural Venezuela, while showing how the former tank commander's authoritarianism laid the groundwork for the country's current economic mess.

Former Venezuelan Trade Minister Moises Naim said he came up with the idea after spending years trying to explain Chavez's hold over Venezuelans to friends in Washington, where he now lives.

"There are two things nobody can dispute regardless of ideology: The first is that Chavez was an extraordinarily charismatic politician who seduced people all over the world, and the other is that Venezuela today has been destroyed by a major crisis," said Naim. "It's very hard to argue the current tragedy has nothing to do with Hugo Chavez."