Friday, August 29, 2014


Transmission

The (Track) Suit Makes The Man

President Hugo Chavez, sporting his red tracksuit, embraces a Venezuelan flag while speaking to supporters after receiving news of his reelection on October 7.
President Hugo Chavez, sporting his red tracksuit, embraces a Venezuelan flag while speaking to supporters after receiving news of his reelection on October 7.
As Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez celebrated 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, were 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.Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (right) in their tracksuits.
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Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (right) in their tracksuits.
Fidel Castro and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (right) in their tracksuits.
After decades of his signature olive-green military uniform, Cuban leader and longtime Chavez ally 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, 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 sports apparel.

Originally posted on his blog “La Fragua,” the Spanish journalist offered a few theories as to why the tracksuit has become the new formal attire for leaders like Chavez and Fidel Castro.

Chavez takes the stage in his blue tracksuit during a campaign rally in Barquisimeto on October 2.Chavez takes the stage in his blue tracksuit during a campaign rally in Barquisimeto on October 2.
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Chavez takes the stage in his blue tracksuit during a campaign rally in Barquisimeto on October 2.
Chavez takes the stage in his blue tracksuit during a campaign rally in Barquisimeto on October 2.
His theories on “the revolutionary tracksuit” range from a populist explanation, which suggests that the goal is to present the leader as "just another ordinary guy," to the notion that it portrays the relevant politician in an idyllic manner as someone who is as “fit as an athlete.”

Fraguas concludes with the theory that leaders may have begun wearing the tracksuit because it mirrors their style of rule, i.e. “my house (country), my rules.”

The Adidas Man

In a manner reminiscent of how top athletes wear the products of sportswear manufacturers who sponsor them, for the past six years Fidel Castro has been photographed in Adidas, Fila, Puma, and Nike tracksuits, raising questions as to why the anti-imperialist former president, whose country has been under an economic embargo for the past 50 years, wears a personalized Adidas sweatsuit with his name embroidered on it.

Clad in his Adidas tracksuit, Fidel Castro (right) meets with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in Havana on January 11.Clad in his Adidas tracksuit, Fidel Castro (right) meets with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in Havana on January 11.
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Clad in his Adidas tracksuit, Fidel Castro (right) meets with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in Havana on January 11.
Clad in his Adidas tracksuit, Fidel Castro (right) meets with Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad in Havana on January 11.
Andrew McKie wrote for "The Daily Telegraph" in 2008 that “...Fidel seems to favour Adidas tracksuits which appear to be made of a cloth so rich in manmade fibres that downtown Havana could probably be powered off the static electricity they generate.”

Chavez had better stay away from those Adidas-branded tracksuits. After all, in 2007 he was the one who told Castro to drop the tracksuit and go back to his military uniform.

-- Deana Kjuka
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Eugenio from: Vienna
October 09, 2012 06:03
Once again congratulations to Andrew from Auckland and other representatives of the nation of Beavus and Butthead: what have you, guys, not done over the last 14 years to overthrow the govt of el Comandante Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías?:
(a) a military coup of April 2002 clumsily orchestrated by the US embassy in Caracas;
(b) a suicidal oil-strike of December 2002-February 2003 (the one that for the first time after quite a while made the oil price go above the back then unimaginable level of US$30/barrel - damaging in the first place the US and other NATO states);
(c) a "recall" referendum of 2004 - which turned to be a confirmation referendum in which a majority of Venezuelans supported their democratically elected leader;
(d) and of course those constant obscence speculations of the primitive Western media, insinuating that Chávez is going to "die from cancer if not today then tomorrow".
And all of the above DID NOT HELP YOU, Beavuses: Chávez was, is and will remain the democratically elected President of Venezuela who has contributed very significantly to having reduced the nosive influence of the nation of Beavuses and Buttheads on the politics and economics of Latin America.
And in this sence he is pretty similar to Vladimir Putin who has done a lot in terms of kicking the Beavuses out of Russia and most other post-Soviet republics - and keeping them out of such places as Syria and Iran.
Give them more, Hugo and Vladimir, until they pack up their stuff and go back to Detroit, Stockton or some other bankrupt US cloaca where they grew up and where they belong!
In Response

by: Camel Anaturk from: Kurdistan
October 09, 2012 13:54
On the glorious occassion of this historic win Eugenio,Jack and all toilet attendants from the soviet embassy in Vienna will give a gala dinner to celebrate this victory for all muchachos east and west.You are advised to bring your own vodka, selyodka and as for the Natashkas,trans-gender Eugenio/Eugenia will try to attend to all your relevant needs.Vakhtang also promised to come and bring a bottle of adulterated georgian wine,but knowing he is a georgian KGB and the way they keep their promises,dont count too much on that.Caramba!!!
In Response

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
October 09, 2012 15:48
Ladies and Gentlemen!
We know that in Venezuela under Chavez gunmen killed the most people in the world
Chavez is dangerous, he is sick..
Right beside "swimming" fanatic Ahmadinejad and Putin, they can unleash a nuclear war because of bad mood..
They is also very dangerous..
Somewhere on the streets wandering camel-the same dangerous type.
Be very careful my dears..such as camel sneak up behind and look like bandits on the photo in the article...

by: Lisandro from: Buenos Aires, Argentina
October 09, 2012 10:54
Poor Venezuelan guys. Poor republic. Half of the people are in poor condition. More than 15.000 deaths related to robbery. The country of the ignorants. 20 years of this monkey. Poor poor people.

by: Vakhtang from: Moscow
October 09, 2012 14:05
After Chavez recognizes аbkhaz bandits living in the occupied Georgian territory,he turned himself into the category of racists and nazis.
On the one hand it is clear that he has problems with his head,on the other he is a danger to others..Americans have a good experience of how to deal with psychopaths like Chavez..
let us remember the brilliant military operation against a drug dealer Noriega-who used the presidency in Panama for criminal activity..
If Romney will come to power (Obama unfortunately is a wimp).. we can hope. that Chavez would be arrested and put in prison or in a mental hospital..
That is where his place..
Maybe Putin will visit him and brought him curds,which sends him priest Gundyaev (Uncle Vova now watch his health...)..
In Response

by: Eugenio from: Vienna
October 10, 2012 05:49
You are saying: "the brilliant military operation against a drug dealer Noriega-who used the presidency in Panama for criminal activity" :-))).
Ah, Vakhtang, first of all, Noriega was installed by the US themselves to be the President of Panama - which made it very easy for them to remove him in their "brillian" operation.
And the other thing, Vakhtang, apparently you did not have a chance to notice how much Latin America has changed over the last 14 years: not only is that the US are completely UNABLE to organize such "brilliant" operations any more; they are that INEPT that they have not managed to stage any worth-mentioning coup d'état (which after all has been a brand-mark of their policy in the region for about a century) in the region over the last decade: they tried it in Venezuela (2002), in Bolivia (2007) and in Ecuador (2010) and failed miserably.
So, Vakhtang, if your hope is that "Chavez would be arrested and put in prison or in a mental hospital" you are running the risk of being very disappointed once again - the days of the nation of Beavuses and Buttheads in Latin American are over: Latin Americans are trading these days primarily with CHINA and are buying arms primarily from RUSSIA. And Uncle Sam has very liitle say in the affairs of the continent these days - something that we all have to thank el comandante Chávez for.
Cheers from Vienna, Vakhtang, and please continue dreaming of restoring the Georgian control over Abkhazia and of removing Chávez from Presidency in the privacy of your appartment :-)).

by: Patrick from: London
October 11, 2012 13:45
What terrific tracksuits. It's a shame Mahmud didn't get down with it though.

Maybe they don't have tracksuits in Iran.

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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