For British Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and left-wing parties like Syriza and Podemos in southern Europe, Chavez’s ascendance was long the clearest challenge to inequality in Latin America, neoliberalism in Washington, and austerity at home.
Today, it’s a decidedly foggier picture.
A humanitarian crisis is enveloping Venezuela. The country is turning increasingly dictatorial under President Nicolás Maduro. And that has placed those like Mr. Corbyn who praised chavismo, Chavez’s ideology, into a political minefield. Now, some on the left are calling for a more clear-eyed assessment in Europe of what is happening in the troubled nation.
“I think the left internationally is very confused around the question of Venezuela,” says Mike Gonzalez, a British historian and a former professor of Latin American Studies at the University of Glasgow. “It is very distressing to lots of people who have given their lives and hopes and commitments to that hopeful process of change to come face-to-face with reality,” he says. …