Six degrees

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 31 July, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 31 July, 2011, 12:00am

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Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez (below) has returned home after receiving treatment for cancer in his good buddy Fidel Castro's Cuba. The anti-imperialist firebrand of Latin America's left-wing, Chavez said last year he was a believer in 'permanent revolution' (except, presumably, when it comes to his own leadership), and a follower of one of the most celebrated socialist revolutionaries, Leon Trotsky ...

Born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, Trotsky is known to students of history across the globe as The Bloke Stalin Didn't Like. A passionate and articulate writer, he has been the inspiration for many fictional characters, among them Snowball in Animal Farm and Emmanuel Goldstein in Nineteen Eighty-Four, both written by George Orwell ...

The noted chronicler of the horrors of totalitarianism was accused of being a Trotskyist after fighting for the Workers' Party of Marxist Unification in the Spanish civil war. Then - in a suitably Orwellian touch - Orwell was also labelled a communist by police spooks, the Special Branch, because of his habit of dressing 'in Bohemian fashion'. Secret surveillance, of course, permeates Nineteen Eighty-Four, which was turned into a film starring John Hurt and Richard Burton ...

The Welsh actor, hell-raiser and loosest of loose cannons was a compulsive womaniser. He once replied to Joan Collins' jibe that he would sleep with a snake if he had the chance by saying: 'Only if it was wearing a skirt, darling.' Burton portrayed Trotsky on screen in 1972's The Assassination of Trotsky, but this wasn't his only politically charged film: 1974's The Klansman deals with race war in the Deep South. It also starred a young O.J. Simpson ...

The American football star and actor is better known for definitely not murdering anyone. His 1994 arrest for the alleged killing of his estranged wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, spawned the so-called 'Trial of the Century' and received non-stop media coverage. The news tsunami surrounding the trial, together with the television-movie quality of the alleged crime, made the affair one of the main inspirations behind the media-glorifies-serial-killers film Natural Born Killers, directed by Oliver Stone ...

The controversial director has long raised the hackles of American conservatives with his ceaseless commitment to left-wing causes, particularly in Latin America. He has made two documentaries about Castro, plus South of the Border, which features interviews with Latin American leaders angry about American foreign policy. About one of them, Stone said: 'The pure energy of the man is intoxicating. I'm a fan.' The leader in question: Hugo Chavez.