The charismatic leader suffered a number of health complicationsafter returning from his latest round of treatment in Cuba.The real cause of his death is still to be discovered says PepeEscobar, an investigative journalist and Asia Times Correspondentcovering Latin America, who doesn’t exclude the possibility of anAmerican hand.He fears a coup after the presidential election next month.RT: “Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history” -these were the words of U.S. President Barack Obama. What is hismessage?PE: In fact, Obama’s message was a bit ridiculous. Hesaid that the US is going to stand united with the Venezuelanpeople. What kind of people does he mean? Does he mean the peoplewho elected and re-elected Chavez in 13 out of 14 democraticelections or does he mean those, who go to New York and Miami totrade and demonize Chavez and chavistas as evil dangerouscommunists? This is ridiculous. The most important thing is that inmy opinion Chavez, in terms of a political leader, was alwaysreferring to the international revolutionary tradition from MaoZedong to Che Guevara. He was like an Elvis of modern geopolitics,bigger than Elvis in fact, because he won almost all the electionsin which he participated. And the thing is that this demonizationof Chavez, even after death, will grow in the US. First of all,Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. The UnitedStates and the EU can sing “All you need is love” to thosegas-and-petro-monarchies in the Persian Gulf but the leader ofVenezuela decided the oil wealth would benefit the lower classes.This is something unheard of in the Persian Gulf. That’s why he isdemonized and will continue to be demonized. The historical verdicton Chavez is complicated. It will take a few years to put him in arevolutionary tradition as a popular leader in terms of ending thehegemony of imperialistic interests in Latin America. After Chavez,remember, there is [Luiz Inácio] Lula in Brazil, [Rafael] Correa inEcuador, [José] Mujica in Uruguay, [Evo] Morales in Bolivia –leftist progressive governments all over South America. Chavez’sidea was always a better integration of the Latin America ingeneral. RT: What do you make of the accusations from Caracasof foul play in Chavez’s death – is it just a conspiracy theory orare there grounds to make those allegations?PE: This is very complicated because we don’t have proof.It took us years to understand what happened to [Yasser] Arafat.That was in 2004 and only six years later it was discovered that hewas poisoned by polonium 210. It could be the same thing withChavez. It’s possible. Don’t forget, and this is not a conspiracytheory, that the CIA tried to poison Fidel Castro thousand times.Maybe they had a break with Chavez as well – nobody knows. We haveto always refer back to the military coup in 2002. This waspromoted by Washington, organized by the American Embassy inCaracas with these powerful Venezuelan players involved, who alwaysgo back to Miami and New York. So the chavistas had reasons to beslightly paranoid about it. We still don’t know the facts as westill don’t know the facts about Chavez’s cancer. The informationwas withheld from the public for a few months. And it’s crazy,because Fox News are saying today that bad Cuban medicine killedHugo Chavez, which is completely stupid. There are 30,000 Cubandoctors helping poor people in Venezuela. This speaks for itself.Can you imagine if these doctors were helping poor people in the USas well, what would Barack Obama say about that? RT: It was a neck and neck presidential race last year- What are the chances of Chavez’s chosen successor, NicolasMaduro, winning power?PE: It’s very easy. Maduro is not an articulator like[Diosdado] Cabello, the speaker of the Venezuelan NationalAssembly. There was a speculation that Cabello would be in powerfor the next 30 days before the elections. No, it’s going to beMaduro. He is going to run, as a vice-president, and he is going towin. First of all, because the opposition prefer Miami-New Yorkjust like the Venezuelan middle classes and like the other SouthAmerican middle and upper-middle classes, which are bored by thefact that in Venezuela, in Ecuador, in Uruguay, in Argentina, inBrazil there was an enormous redistribution of wealth in the lastten years or so. He is going to win, but the problem is can he keepwhat we call ‘the Bolivarian socialist revolution’ in Venezuela,which is not exactly a revolution but a more participative,inclusive government but it’s not socialism at all. It has theelements of neo-liberalism as well. How this is going to beorganized without this larger-than-life Elvis of geopolitics?Expect a lot of disturbances inside Venezuela because thedisorganized opposition and a small faction of military will betalking to Washington and New York on a daily basis. What about thenext coup?