A couple of months ago ABC published an interview with Olga Wornat who investigated the private life of Hugo Chavez. Her investigation revealed what had been claimed for years Chavez is bipolar, takes Prozac, had a turbulant childhood, sleeps very little, etc... Now comes a report by Dr. Jerrold Post from the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University, who conducted a profile of Chavez for the U.S. Air Force. Once again his conclusions are the same as those that Venezuelan psychologists had been concluding since 2002.
Post portrays Chavez as "a masterful political gamesman" who knows that his popularity largely rests on being seen as a strong leader who takes on the United States, the Venezuelan elite and a host of other perceived enemies -- often with public insults that are rarely used by other leaders.
"To keep his followers engaged, he must continue outrageous and inflammatory attacks," Post said.
The opposition has always fallen for his attacks
"The major psychological reward for Chavez derives from being seen as the pugnacious openly defiant champion of the little man, as one of 'us' versus 'them,'" Post said.
In his assessment, one of the character traits that drive Chavez is "malignant narcissism," a term that denotes an extreme sense of self-importance and is usually coupled with extreme sensitivity to criticism.
"The arrogant certainty conveyed in his (Chavez's) public pronouncements is very appealing to his followers. But under this grandiose facade, as is typical with narcissistic personalities, is extreme insecurity,"
Remember when Ramon Martinez belonging to Patria Para Todos (a Chavez party) was in disagreement to forming a single party, which prompted Chavez calling him an imperialist and that he didn't need him. So you see being in disagreement or criticizing "Yo el Supremo" is not accepted in the revolution.
"There are two circumstances when Chavez's messianic personality adversely affects his decision making, with a potential for flawed judgement," Post wrote in his study for the Air Force. "When he has just achieved a major success and when he perceives himself as failing."
That pattern has been consistent throughout his presidential terms -- bold actions when he felt heady with success; harsh rhetoric, confrontational moves and temporary depression when he felt weakened.
His election win caused him nationalize industries. But the UN security seat caused him to go into depression:
But in the wake of one of his worst diplomatic defeats, the failure of a protracted and costly lobbying campaign to win a seat for Venezuela on the United Nations Security Council, Chavez was so despondent that he stayed away from an Ibero-American summit meeting in Uruguay. "My colleagues don't like me," he complained.
Just as Olgo Wornat concluded, Chavez has strong mood swings with high euphoria then enter a deep depression where he will just stay in bed, in this case he didn't go to Uruguay.
Again, a personality profile Venezuelans knew for years but only now are is the US figuring it out.