Seumas Milne also went to on a pilgrimage around the same time, and came back convinced that he had seen the future, reporting that Venezuela’s “success in bringing resources under public control offer lessons to anyone interested in … new forms of socialist politics in the rest of the world.… Venezuela and its Latin American allies have demonstrated that it’s no longer necessary to accept a failed economic model, as many social democrats in Europe still do.”

After Chávez’s re-election in October 2012, the General Secretary of Unite the Union, Len McCluskey, said: “We welcome this result which is a clear endorsement of Hugo Chávez’s progressive social policies. Venezuela shows that governments that put the needs of ordinary working people first can expect strong support at the ballot box … Europe might want to learn the obvious lessons from Venezuela”.

In the weeks and months following Chávez’s death in 2013, there was no shortage of voices which praised his political legacy. Among them were trade unionists including Bill Hayes, Dave Prentis and Frances O’Grady. Jon Tricket, the MP for Hemsworth, called Chávez “a titan of a man”.