In 2009 in the northern Venezuelan city of Barcelona, I approached an elderly street sweeper and asked to purchase her baseball cap, which was red and featured a Hugo Chavez-related slogan.
As I saw it, the item would be an optimal addition to my collection of revolutionary paraphernalia, which thus far consisted of posters, flags, and a CD containing various musical performances by Chavez himself - most of them upbeat numbers critiquing the Venezuelan political opposition.
The woman, however, refused the offer despite my best efforts at capitalist persuasion. I left empty-handed.
Such levels of devotion to the former president, who died one year ago, are not uncommon among sectors of the Venezuelan population.When my friend and I inserted ourselves into the February 2009 pro-Chavez referendum campaign as a means of acquiring oversized pink Chavez t-shirts, we caught a glimpse of the individual commitment and collective energy sustaining Venezuela's Bolivarian project, and were treated to more than one teary-eyed tribute to its leader. READ MORE AT AL JAZEERA.