Hugo Chávez has stooped to a new low in his quest to hijack the memory of Latin American independence leader Simón Bolívar - cracking open the hero's tomb and pulling his body out.

While it is widely believed that Bolívar died of tuberculosis, Chávez has cooked up a conspiracy theory that he was murdered by opponents in Colombia and, under this pretense, exhumed his remains. Given the nature of the Venezuelan propaganda machine, it seems likely that we will hear in a few months that these tests "prove" Chávez's claim. At which time, Chávez will probably just blame the Colombians.

This is just the latest attempt of Chávez to revise history in order to declare himself Bolívar's heir. In real life, Simón Bolívar was a pro-American free-marketeer, known as a keen supporter of Adam Smith's economic theories. He did become an authoritarian dictator after the revolution – but he was far from the wild-eyed socialist Chávez claims him to be. In fact, it's probably safe to say that Bolívar would have been disgusted by Chávez – and he would have rolled over in his grave today were he still in it.

If Hugo Chávez had any sense of human decency – he would let his supposed hero rest in peace.