Hugo Chavez, the former president of Venezuela, was a charismatic and divisive figure. Some admire Chavez for championing the poor and protecting them from the interests of Venezuelan elites. But Chavez also slowly eroded basic human rights so he could stay in power, and his own flawed economic policies paved the way for current Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro and the Venezuelan economic crisis. It would be fair to say that opinions about Chavez are polarized.
So it should come as little surprise that “El Comandante,” a television series covering the life of Hugo Chavez, has critics divided.
CREDIT: EL COMANDANTE / SONY PICTURES TV
Sony Pictures TV’s “El Comandante” isn’t even into its 60-episode run in South America, and the show has already inspired anger and potential legal action from those who knew Chavez well. The show, produced by Moises Naím, a self-described “Chavez critic,” has been called “trash” by President Maduro, NBC News reports.
The role of Hugo Chavez is played by Andres Parra, who also played Pablo Escobar in “Pablo Escobar, el patrón del mal.” This has caused controversy among political leaders in Venezuela, who believe the association between Escobar and Chavez is an attempt to ruin Chavez’s reputation. Diosdado Cabello, one of the leading figures of Venezuela’s socialist party, released a statement, saying, “They attacked him when he was alive and now he’s not physically with us.”
In response to “El Comandante,” the Venezuelan government is now developing a miniseries that will show the “true” version of Chávez’s life.
Maduro has called the government-sanctioned show a “counter-attack” against the Sony Pictures TV series, which he has accused of “twisting the truth” of Chavez’s legacy, the BBC reports. Adan Chávez, Hugo Chávez’s brother and Culture Minister of Venezuela, already has a Venezuelan-Cuban production team working on their show, which is tentatively titled “The True Chávez.” In the meantime, Venezuela will air pro-Chavez television programs, including a documentary titled, “Los Sueños Llegan Como la Lluvia”, according to Vanguardia.
“El Comandante” begins airing on January 30th in Latin America, with Telemundo set to air the show in the United States.