CARACAS — The eyes of a dead man stare at visitors passing through immigration at Simon Bolivar International Airport. They follow drivers making the trek along the tortuous four-lane highway through a mountain range leading to town. And they reappear at public spaces throughout this city.
It’s easy to be spooked by the ubiquitous image of Hugo Chavez, the larger-than-life leftist leader who died last week from an unspecified form of cancer. But in Venezuela, it has been the reality since he came to power in 1999.
“It never used to be this way with presidents before him,” said David Bittan, the owner of a taxi company whose cousin of the same name is the president of the Venezuelan Jewish umbrella group CAIV.
“They started putting up these posters everywhere after he was first elected. It’s in line with Communist Party propaganda.”