A Hero’s Curse
The Perpetual Liberation of Venezuela
A Hero’s Curse is the story of the modern Venezuelans whose lives have taken shape in the shadow of Simón Bolívar and his most passionate disciple, Comandante Hugo Chávez.
For nearly two hundred years Venezuela’s political leaders have evoked the legacy of their liberator, Bolívar, to stir popular support. While Bolívar’s heroic struggle helped free a continent, his affinity for dictatorial rule spawned a vicious cycle of liberation and tyranny that has always haunted Venezuela. Since Chávez’s death, the battle for Venezuela’s future has intensified. Amidst a collapsing economy, escalating violence, and shortages of basic goods, there are increasing calls for a change of leadership. Rivals for power compete in demonstrating to the masses that they are the new, true, Venezuelan hero come to set them free.
Kajsa Norman chronicles the rise and fall of Chávez and the tragic impact of Venezuela’s ‘heroic’ politics on ordinary citizens. The stage is set for yet another turn in Venezuela’s cycle of perpetual liberation, with a new generation of leaders clamouring for the title of national hero.
Kajsa Norman is a London-based investigative journalist and author focused on dictatorships and conflict zones. She has previously published books on Cuba, Zimbabwe and Venezuela. She has also served as a press and information officer for the Swedish Armed Forces in Afghanistan and Mali. Her most recent book is Bridge Over Blood River: The Rise and Fall of the Afrikaners (2016).
- The Call to Purpose
- Tests, Allies, and Enemies
- The Ordeal
- The Punishment
- Death, Resurrection, and Delusion
- Goliath Wins
- The Ascension
- No Man’s Land
‘Kajsa Norman has written a vivid, empathetic and deeply human portrayal of how Venezuela’s Bolivarian dream turned into a nightmare. She blends individual stories into the wider narrative of how a revolution, and a country, stumble into a dark labyrinth.’ — Rory Carroll, former Latin America correspondent for the Guardian, author of Comandante: Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela
‘In an era of surging global populism, Kajsa Norman reminds us that such politics are nothing new in Venezuela. Drawing on vivid and gripping personal narratives, Norman paints a cautionary tale of populist despotism. Norman reminds us that strongman politics have the power to destroy lives and tear nations apart. Essential reading on Venezuela and Latin America’s historically complex relationship with democracy.’ — Brian Klaas, Fellow at the London School of Economics & author of The Despot’s Accomplice