When Paraguayan president Fernando Lugo was treated in Brazil for lymphatic cancer, the world barely noticed. When Dilma Rousseff suffered a lymphoma in 2009, it did not prevent her from winning Brazil\’s presidential election the next year. But Hugo Chávez\’s recent illness has caused turmoil both within Venezuela and abroad.
Because the other two were simply democratic politicians who won elections. If they didn\’t win, someone else would.
Chavez is much more in the Caudillo mould.
No, I don\’t mean that he\’s not won elections, but that the whole project depends upon Chavez. Thus the illness of Chavez causes more turmoil than the illness of someone not so identified with a project or country.
That\’s the problem with charismatic rule: even those with charisma die in the end whereas insititutions and methods can survive any one individual.