Beware the Lies of March—What Shakespeare tells us about Hugo Chavez

I come to bury Chavez, not to praise him. Barak Obama says he was authoritarian. And the President is an honourable man. John Graham, former ambassador to Venezuela says he couldn’t manage his own economy. And he is an honourable man. Stephen Harper says he was undemocratic. And he is a Right Honourable man. So are they all, all honourable men.

And yet … Hugo Chavez gave people free education while others indenture their citizens. He put in place the most robust electoral system in the south while we struggle with voter suppression and robocalls. He narrowed the gap between rich and poor even while the gap grows wider in the north. Poverty, infant mortality, public debt—all cut by half.

His will, shall I read you his will? It is simple. To the people of Venezuela he gives them their own country’s resources, and the money earned from their extraction.

Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar had Marc Antony to rehabilitate his reputation. His Richard III had no one. Shakespeare says the King was a murderer, a usurper, and a twisted tyrant. And Shakespeare was honourable man.

And yet … Richard reduced poverty and unemployment in the north of England. He opened the courts for the poor to air their grievances. He instituted bail for those accused of crimes.

Nevertheless, Tudor generals dumped Richard under a Leicester parking lot and Tudor historians heaped upon the King’s corpse the kind of half-truths that pepper Shakespeare’s play.

Beware the Ides of March. Beware the lies of March.

© David McLaren, 15 March 2013

Watch. ‘The Revolution will Not be Televised.’
You Are There during the military coup on Hugo Chavez’s government, 2002.–ZFtjR5c

Watch some more: ‘Anatomy of a Coup.’
Another documentary validates the point of view of ‘The Revolution will Not be Televised’ with additional information on how the coup against Chavez was staged, perhaps with American help.


About David McLaren

David McLaren is an award-winning writer. He has worked in government and the private sector, with NGOs and First Nations in Ontario. He is currently writing from Neyaashiinigamiing on the shore of Georgian Bay and can be reached at In February 2015, he won the nomination for the NDP to represent the riding of Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound in the 2015 federal election. See that page for writings during the campaign.
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2 Responses to Beware the Lies of March—What Shakespeare tells us about Hugo Chavez

  1. Munroe Scott says:

    David, you are so correct. It is so difficult these days to know what information is even a semblance of the truth. Thank you for the link to the Chavez documentary. That is a truly extraordinary documentary and extraordinarily revealing in what it tells us of the role of private media in conflict with state owned media. We Canadians should take note. While watching it, though, I couldn’t help but think what a difference today’s social communication technology would have made those few short years ago. Again, thank you.

  2. John Butler says:

    David –

    At last, an article that describes Hugo Chavez as neither a clown nor a demon, but as a complex leader who did much good. Reading it reminded me of a flawed character from the novel Love in the Time of Cholera (1985) by Gabriel Garcia Marquez (one country over from Venezuela, but I daresay a fitting description of institutionalized inertia that some leaders buck):

    “Dr. Urbino wanted to make the place sanitary, he wanted a slaughterhouse built somewhere else and a covered market constructed with stained-glass turrets, like the one he had seen in the very old barqueria in Barcelona, where the provisions looked so splendid and clean that it seemed a shame to eat them. But even the most complaisant of his notable friends pitied his illusory passion. This is how they were: they spent their lives proclaiming their proud origins, the historic merits of the city, the value of its relics, its heroism, its beauty, but they were blind to the decay of the years. Dr. Juvenal Urbino, on the other hand, loved it enough to see it with the eyes of truth.”

    Thanks for this….

    John Butler

    President, The Agora Group

    12 Peter Street, Markham ON L3P 2A4

    Office: (905) 294-9762

    Cell: (647) 993-0946

    ancora imparo

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