How does Hugo Chavez exemplify the ideas contained in The Prince by Machiavelli?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most important way in which Hugo Chavez exemplifies the ideas from The Prince is in the fact that he seems to care about nothing other than holding on to power.  His goal is not necessarily to make Venezuela strong or to keep its people happy.  Instead, his goal is to remain in power and he will do whatever he thinks will accomplish this.

The other ways in which Chavez exemplifies the ideas contained in the book all flow from this first similarity.  Many of the things that Chavez does to remain in power are very similar to what Machiavelli says a prince should do.  For example, a prince should understand that people can essentially be "bought" with favors and help.  This is what Chavez seems to have done with the poor of Venezuela.  He has bought their loyalty with all sorts of programs meant to help them.

Chavez's actions all appear to be based on maintaining his hold on power, not on helping his people or following what we would see as good ways of governing.  This is essentially what Machiavelli tells rulers they should do.


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