Manuel Caballero died early this morning. Venezuela loses today one of its finest thinkers ever, a great historian and one of the few that opposed the Chavez regime since 1992 even though Manuel Caballero has an impeccable career as a leftist who became on time a social democrat. His Sunday column in El Universal was one of the half a dozen weekly must read for me, always bringing to me a political smile, always giving ideas, always reminding me that the anti military anti fascist fights in Venezuela are the just cause, worth any sacrifice.
Although I heard him enough, and read him widely (he has the best short history of Venezuela and perhaps one of the best short history book ever written, see at the end) I only saw him once, about a couple of years ago as I was having coffee at Arabica. He was there in all simplicity but with a few disciple like folks. I did not go to say hi. That is all.
In spite of having been a strong vocal opponent of chavismo from the very start he walked unencumbered, no body guard, no nothing. Any chavista could have had a swing at him with no trouble as he is one of their most hated figures. And they knew better than to attack him because he was the greatest demolisher of chavista falsehoods and would have welcome any challenge.
His bright intellect will be sorely missed, perhaps at the time when we needed him the most. If you read Spanish check out his Sunday columns in the archives where one of his pet peeves was Chavez trying to rewrite history without even knowing the real one, and even less understanding it.
His last column today. More than once, pressed by time, I would buy El Universal just to read his column, dropping the rest of the paper to skim through later in the week.
A list of his works.
My review on my favorite book of his.
De la "Pequeña Venecia" a la "Gran Venezuela" (Manuel Caballero)
The shortest and possibly the best history book on Venezuela. Not so much for the details, which are very limited in a booklet of less than 100 pages, but for the interpretation of Venezuelan history. Published before anyone thought seriously that Chavez would become president.
Monte Avila Editores
1999, second edition