Ruling elites in Venezuela, the United States and Europe, and even Hugo Chavez himself though for different reasons, have been eager to have the world view him as the heir to Fidel Castro. But the truth about this increasingly influential world leader is more complex, and more interesting.. The Chavez that emerges from Bart Jones' carefully researched and documented biography is neither a plaster saint nor a revolutionary tyrant. He has an undeniably autocratic streak, and yet has been freely and fairly re-elected to his nations presidency three times with astonishing margins of victory. He is a master politician and an inspired improviser, a Bolivarian nationalist and an unashamed socialist. His policies have brought him into conflict with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and major oil companies. They have also provided a model for new governments and social movements in Ecuador, Bolivia, and Argentina. When in September 2006 he declared at the United Nations that 'the devil came here yesterday ... the President of the United States', it was clear that he was taking on challenging the most powerful nation on earth, in conscious imitation of the Liberator, Simon Bolivar.