In the ranking of dictators, Hugo Chávez is in the welterweight class. President of Venezuela these past 14 years, he is supposed to be holding a ceremony of inauguration for yet another term of one-man rule and demagoguery. In anticipation, his supporters, the Chávistas in their uniform of red shirts, are singing and dancing in the streets of Caracas. But rumour has it that Chávez is on the point of death after surgery for cancer in a hospital in Cuba. Caution! The apparent popularity, the sympathy, the tenterhooks, the pseudo-Mandela image of the man, is largely the work of those strange modern-age political publicists known as fellow travellers.
A fellow traveller is one who commits to a cause, preferably foreign and necessarily hostile to the interests of his own country.