DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.8279443

Comandante Chávez: A Žižekian Encounter with the Lacanian Real

di Jesus H. Ramírez

This paper is about Slavoj Žižek’s analysis of Hugo Chávez and how, from my point of view, his relating to his constituents (the people) can be viewed as a manifestation of Žižek’s take on how one interpassively encounters the Real. I use Chávez as a figure head of controversial leadership. All at once, such figures are loved, hated, unsupported, and supported by many. However, I think his case is particularly interesting because in this present moment we are constantly bombarded by the Lacanian triad of the Symbolic, Imaginary, and Real as it pertains current leadership. With the current war in Ukraine and the persistent topic of misinformation versus authentic information, it is crucial to examine our narratives about our leaders so that we can gain an understanding of our form of participation. In examining Hugo Chávez, we have enough distance from his reign to examine the role of interpassivity. From this, we can extrapolate how interpassivity plays a role in our way of relating to the Zelenskys, Putins, Bidens, and Trumps of the world. Through this interpassive lens, we can identify how their being our symbolic representations remains a necessary condition for our desire for change in a world that frequently shows us how disempowered we are when our leaders act.

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Ramirez, Comandante Chavez