Hasta Siempre Commandante: The Legacy of Hugo Chávez

By Nikole Hyndman

The death of Hugo Chávez rocked the world of international relations. As foreign governments scrambled to make public condolence statements, the world remembered just what a controversial figure Chávez was. While he was adored by the Venezuelan people, he was a thorn in the side of Western governments. He was also a close personal friend to remarkably controversial leaders like Fidel Castro, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Muammar Gadhafi.

Amidst the demonization of America and capitalism, Chávez kept the world watching Venezuela. His unrelenting criticisms of the Western imperialist powers got him significant attention from Western governments. His alliances with staunchly anti-American states like Iran, Belarus, and Syria gave him both power and influence in the international system. Chávez shaped a new, more powerful Venezuela.   Read More »

Be The Change You Want To See: From Environmental Depression to Inspired Action in Six Books

I tend to get pretty down after reading many economic, international development and environmental books—factual, fiction or otherwise. If you do not know what I mean, I highly recommend reading Daniel Quinn’s 1992 novel Ishmael. Set up as a conversation between a teacher and student, where the former happens to be a hyper-intelligent, talking gorilla, the book slowly takes the reader through environmental philosophy on how we have managed to get ourselves into the present day environmental mess. Read More »

Is it Me or is Communism Everywhere?

Ah, the sea of red that must be flooding your imagination: images of red flags intercepted by golden stars, shining hammers, crossing sickles, mixed in with flashes of Mao, Stalin, Che, Castro, bread queues and cold wars. Communism has become a hugely loaded word, most widely associated with political ideologies and regimes that we (UK, Europe, US and beyond) deem to be communist countries of Russia, China and Cuba.

Yet, as Anthropologist David Graeber points out in his recent book Debt: The First 5,000 years*, even the leaders and ruling parties of these nations never actually called their arrangements communist. Rather, they see themselves as socialist, with communism representing a distant, utopian, stateless ideal. Read More »


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