DECEMBER 3, 2007
A recent assignment that I'm dying to show is this portrait of Hugo Chavez. The request was to paint Hugo as Simon Bolivar, who was was one of the most powerful figures in world political history, leading the independence movement for six nations, Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia and liberating them from the rule of Spain. Hugo Chavez is the left wing President of Venezuela and with Venezuela's large oil reserves, has the cash to influence the region. That largesse, coupled with Latin America's sharp antiglobalization mood, is helping a stunning number of leftists win or lead in Latin presidential elections today. However, power is a difficult thing to have. Some choose to lead and some chose to rule. Chavez wants to rule. This weekend Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez lost a tight vote in a referendum on giving him new powers and scrapping term limits on his left-wing rule. The "no" camp won 51 percent of the vote, compared to the pro-Chavez "yes" camp's 49 percent. Chavez conceded defeat, calling the vote "a photo finish," and saying he didn't want to subject the country to further tension. "To those who voted against my proposal, I thank them and congratulate them," Chavez said. The Venezuelan president claimed there were "microscopic differences" between the "yes" and "no" options on the referendum and hinted that he might try again, saying, "We could not do it, for now." Had the referendum passed, Chavez would have been allowed to run for re-election indefinitely, control Venezuela's foreign currency reserves, appoint loyalists over regional elected officials and censor the media if he declared an emergency. Chavez has said he wants to rule for life and turn Venezuela into a socialist state. But the defeat will likely put the Cuban ally under intense pressure to slow or halt his self-declared socialist revolution and step down when his term ends in 2013. That two percent difference was a big difference. Every vote counts.
A portrait of the legendary leader, Simon Bolivar (I don't know the artist)
The approved sketch. I liked it but hoped to juice the color a bit to mimic the vibrancy of the Simon Bolivar piece.
A close up. I loved painting his face. Corpulent and colorful.