The Hugo Chavez Book Club

Hugo Chavez, savior of the publishing industry? Back in April, the Venezuelan president gifted President Obama the book The Open Veins of Latin America—and it immediately shot to the top of the New York Times bestseller list. Now, courtesy of the BBC, we learn of Chavez’s “Revolutionary Reading Plan” for Venezuela. Some choices are rather obvious: The Communist Manifesto, Selected Speeches of Hugo Chavez, State Terrorism in Colombia. (Chavez allegedly sponsors the other kind.) But El Presidente also has given out thousands of copies of Don Quixote and Les Miserables. Alas, it’s hardly a warm and fuzzy book club: Chavez’s plan includes roving “book squadrons," which wear colors based on literary genre. The squadron members promoting autobiography will wear red, while the black team will peddle reading on “militant resistance.”