THE CARIBBEAN: Shrunken Santos

When old Latin America hands reminisce about bad days in the Caribbean, they usually agree that the 1908-35 regime of Juan Vicente Gómez in Venezuela was unsurpassed in greed, cruelty and lust. Ignorant, fierce-mustached Góomez brought to Caracas' Miraflores Palace the bandit morals of the 19th Century caudillos he admired, the manners of the peon he was, the behavior of the bulls he raised. The nation's treasury and the nation's women were his; he liked to share these boons with his bastard brothers and with the 100 or so bastard sons he sired.

The most indulged of his male relatives...

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