The United States’ biggest bogeyman dictator remaining, Hugo Chávez, has died of cancer at age 58. His status as our most feared repressive ruler says something about the state of the world today because by any reasonable accounts he was neither all that repressive nor that big of a challenge to the US. Even the amount he was feared was greatly exaggerated as a badge of honor by this man of the people. Yet his passing is extremely important in that it probably marks a new phase in the continuing progress of Latin America.
Why did we fear Chávez, if we did at all? What will come next? Most of it has been show so far, but in typical South American fashion it was a pretty good show. This one may have some lasting and even positive effects.