I decided to write this work of fiction because of the strong links I have with Venezuela. I have spent a lot of time working in Latin America, particularly in Venezuela, and have been fascinated to follow the progress of the so-called “pink tide”of socialist leaders who have held power over recent years; particularly in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia and the influence wielded by the daddy of them all, Cuba. Hugo Chavez was one of the most recognisable world leaders for fifteen or more years and his policies have had significant repercussions at home and abroad.
I have a Venezuelan spouse and many friends and business contacts in Venezuela. Through visits to the country, the media and constant dialogue with friends, I have followed some of the effects of Chavismo at close quarters. I have written the book in the form of two intertwined narratives to make a few observations about the country and the interplay of power and corruption. the timescale covered by the political plot runs from early 2013, when it became apparent that Chavez was seriously ill although the true nature and extent of his illness was shrouded in secrecy which degenerated into equivocation and calumny. The reports from official sources of his condition were wearing increasingly thin and Chavez was unable to attend his own inauguration. Chavez gave his blessing to Nicolas Maduro as his successor although the constitution appeared to mandate Diosdado Cabello to the position. The Supreme Court backed Maduro.
As Chavez’s condition deteriorated, the government line became increasingly indefensible and Chavez passed away. The ensuing electoral campaign resembled, at times, a paranoid farce. Right wing plots, suicide squads and accusations that the cancer which had killed Chavez came from injections administered by some dark forces of the right all fell from the lips of Maduro as did the fact that he had seen a vision of Chavez as a little bird exhorting him to victory. Not for the first time, truth seemed stranger than fiction.
Behind the great political events, the Bolivarian Republic was fast becoming a Banana Republic. The cornucopia on the Venezuelan coat of arms were empty and discontent about food shortages was a major election issue as were the extraordinary levels of murders, 98% of which went unsolved according to some sources, the crumbling economy despite the high oil prices and, as in most of recent Venezuelan history, corruption and cronyism.
Such a background would be hard to imagine but it serves as the backdrop for a crime story which deals with arms and drugs smuggling from Latin America. Senior Venezuelan military and government figures are accused by the United States Drug Enforcement Agency of involvement in such activities and more ……………..