Leadership by Resentment

Leadership by Resentment

From Ressentiment to Redemption

New Horizons in Leadership Studies series

Ruth Capriles

The author explores the conditions that foster the development of ressentiment, the role of leaders and followers, and the phases of the phenomenon as it encourages destructive behaviors such as murder and suicide. Often considered an incurable disease with destructive social and political repercussions, it is a core motive for acts of terrorism, revolutions, social upheavals and processes of toxic leadership. The author puts forth a model that helps to describe certain historical processes led by ressentiment, like some revolutions and terrorist acts, and to distinguish them from other movements that are usually treated as similar (e.g., independence revolutions). The book then tackles a seemingly impossible question: Can we find a cure for this powerful and destructive impulse? With care and deliberation, the author demonstrates the power of ethical leadership, recognition and redemption as positive unifying forces during human conflicts.

Chapter 8: A case study: Venezuela 1992–2011

Ruth Capriles

Subjects: politics and public policy, leadership


Since the beginning of historical time Venezuela has been regarded as a land of natural riches and human scarcity. From Christopher Columbus until present day, Crown chronicles, explorers’ reports, travelers’ journals, republican speeches, ministries’ reports to congress, official appraisals and evaluations, repeat that phrase as an ingrained belief on the relation of human beings to nature (Capriles 1996, 2009). There has been good reasons for that belief. Venezuela has been, and still is, a land of abundance and multiple riches; a wonderful climate and beautiful, wild, mother nature that is an untamed but reliable provider. And the people, mixed races and colors, were, or were always recorded as, weak but ‘of good disposition’.

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