There was a dream-like quality to the scene. The blistering sun, the audience of government officials in red T-shirts nodding solemnly, the group of village women supporters waist-deep in the ocean blowing kisses to the president, the TV cameras zooming in on my perspiring face.
I was transcribing the harangue into my notebook but at one point I paused – he was back to Columbus – and jotted down an observation. Losing it? The thought struck me hard. Was Hugo Chávez, the sublimely gifted communicator who put Latin American revolution back on the world’s agenda, losing it? Not his marbles, for clearly the man was rational and intelligent, but was he losing his political touch?
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