At points of crisis of political representations and economic insecurity, populists are more likely to emerge. That was true of earlier forms of populism in Latin America and it seems to be so now. There are some important differences though and these are shown by exploring Chavismo as an “extreme” case study of populism. Chávez has pushed a model of citizenship which is antithetical to neoliberal models in that it encourages politically engaged citizens, increases worker rights through an increasingly interventionist state, and encourages anti-imperialist solidarity and actions. By understanding how populist orientations of Chávez created possibilities and constraints on that citizenship, social scientists can better understand what populism is and is not.