He wears one. Castro wears one. Is it a political statement?
As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrates winning a new term in office, images of the South American populist leader, clad in his traditional red tracksuit and triumphantly holding his arms aloft, have been plastered all over international newswires. Chavez's penchant for tracksuits is nothing new. Some of his more memorable athletic garb includes his all-time favorite scarlet tracksuit (a tribute to the red flag of socialism) and his tracksuit bearing the yellow, red, and blue colors of the Venezuelan flag.
Chavez is certainly not the only leader to take the humble tracksuit for a run in the political sphere. Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (right) in their tracksuits.
After decades of his signature olive-green military uniform, Cuban leader and longtime ally of Chavez, Fidel Castro, switched over to tracksuits in 2006, the same year he transferred power to his brother, Raul Castro, due to his ailing health.
Despite often being derided as the height of bad taste or even a poor fashion statement, the tracksuit may in fact be seen as a political statement. Two years ago, Spanish blogger and editor of the Spanish daily El Pais, Antonio (Tono) Fraguas coined the phrase "el chandalismo revolucionario," (Spanish for "the revolutionary tracksuit") to describe the fondness of certain left-wing leaders for sporting apparel.