Richard Gott

Richard Gott is a former Latin America correspondent and literary editor at the Guardian. His books include Cuba: A New History and Hugo Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolution.

What do we remember about Cornelius Cardew? That he was a brilliant avant-garde composer who pioneered free improvisation and led a Scratch Orchestra of musicians and artists; that he wrote a polemical tract alleging that Stockhausen ‘serves imperialism’; and that, after spending a decade as a prominent Maoist, he was killed by a hit-and-run driver, in an apparent accident that conspiracy theorists have liked to construe as the work of the intelligence services.

Diary: Paraguayan Power

Richard Gott, 21 February 2008

At one end of the desolate park that stretches down from the public buildings of Asunción to the bay adjacent to the Paraguay River, where conquistadors first found refuge in the 16th century, stands a strange construction of concrete and metal that looks more like a contemporary artwork than a memorial. Scrambled within the cement are bronze hands sticking out and an upturned human face, crushed beneath an immense cube of concrete: the destroyed remains of the statue of General Alfredo Stroessner, one of the infamous dictators of the second half of the 20th century. He ruled here for 34 years, from a coup in 1954 until his overthrow in 1989, an annus mirabilis in Paraguay as well as in Eastern Europe.

Wafted to India: Unlucky Wavell

Richard Gott, 5 October 2006

For a schoolboy at Winchester in the 1950s, it was difficult to avoid the dramatic tombstone in the college cloisters. The memorial carries the simple legend WAVELL, deeply etched into the surface of a stone buried horizontally in the grass, and it joins those of other Wykehamists who are remembered there: George Mallory, lost on Everest in 1924, and William Whiting, who wrote the hymn...

A new history of the British Empire might be expected to concern itself with such issues as the construction of military dictatorship through the imposition of martial law; the violent seizure and settlement of land; the genocidal destruction of indigenous peoples (and their culture and environment); the establishment of what is now called ‘institutional racism’; and the continuing...

The mountains of Venezuela rise up almost sheer from the shores of the Caribbean, with gashes of red earth below and vivid green forest above, the peaks entirely lost in grey cloud. From the aeroplane window I have often liked to imagine this as the land on which the local Indians stood when they first discovered Columbus on their beach in 1498 – although he landed some four hundred miles to the east, on the Peninsula de Paría, across the water from Trinidad.

Perfidy, Villainy, Intrigue: The Black Hole

Ramachandra Guha, 20 December 2012

In 1931, Gandhi visited England to discuss India’s political future. In a speech at Oxford, he hoped that when the empire finally ended, India would be an ‘equal partner with Britain,...

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America first

Felipe Fernández-Armesto, 7 January 1993

‘See America first’: the old tourist-office advertising slogan made it sound easy. The most famous moment in the history of exploration, however, is also one of the most baffling. In...

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