Beyond Tyranny
Cover of 42.1
Requires Subscription PDF



How to Cite

Beyond Tyranny: The Totalitarian Spirit of the Venezuelan Regime. (2018). The Political Science Reviewer, 42(1), 1-33.


It has been almost twenty years since the “Bolivarian Revolution” raised Hugo Chávez to political power in Venezuela. Now that the magnitude of the nation’s crisis has reached indescribable levels, and chilling statistics reflect the plummeting of every political, economic, and social indicator, many people are asking how one of the most prosperous countries in Latin America, possessing the largest oil reserves in the world, could descend to such a level of humanitarian crisis. Most answers dwell on government inefficiency and corruption, misguided economic policies, or weak institutional and legal frameworks. Others attribute the essence of this revolution to the populist demagoguery of shrewd politicians or resort to euphemistic characterizations such as “competitive autocracy.” Some analyses look to distinguish between Chávez and Maduro, arguing that the dictatorial practices of the successor have derailed the “democratic revolution” initiated by the comandante eterno, the eternal commander. All of these answers, however, only scratch the surface of a tragedy that is substantially more complex. Even the harshest of labels, such as despotism, dictatorship, and tyranny, fail to capture the actual essence of the Bolivarian Revolution—totalitarianism.

Requires Subscription PDF