Socialist Chavez

Living large in oil-rich Venezuela:

The booming economy may make elective surgery and luxury vehicles affordable for the upper-middle class, but the Venezuelans who are amassing the immense fortunes are the Boliburguesa, or the members of President Chávez’s inner circle. (The name refers to the president’s leftist Bolivarian revolution and the bourgeoisie.) Boliburgueses had constructed mega-mansions in the most storied Caracas neighborhoods and bought spanking new jets. A journalist friend who shadowed one of Chávez’s closest allies was chauffeured around in a bulletproof BMW, flanked by Korean bodyguards who can allegedly brain a would-be assailant with a butter knife at a distance of 20 meters. “It was like something out of Goldfinger,” my colleague said, still somewhat incredulous. Just as bizarre was his description of a Caracas sushi restaurant that had been enthusiastically recommended: rare tuna could be servedfor an exorbitant feeon the belly of a woman in the buff.