Report: Hugo Marietan
Politicians tend to remain
holding on to power as psychopaths
Laura Di Marco
For LA NACION newspaper, January 14,
are usually psychopaths, for one simple reason: the
psychopath loves the power. He uses people to gain more
and more power, and modifies them for their own benefit.
This does not mean, of course, that all politicians or all
leaders are indeed psychopaths, but that the power is a
circumstance where they
move as fish moves in water.
This is assured by
the psychiatrist doctor Hugo Marietán, one of the main
Argentinean specialists in psychopath and an obliged
referent for those who are interested in these atypical
personalities, which are nor necessarily the leading roles
of high impact police reports.
precisely, the allusion does not refer to serial killers
such as Hannibal Lecter, the disturbed psychiatrist from
The Silence of the Lambs, but to those personalities
that Marietán defines as daily psychopaths. Rare
personalities that do not only adapt themselves perfectly
into the environment, but also surround us without further
notice. Furthermore, most of them usually reach the
highest economic politic and social standards.
The new about
Marietans definition, member of the Argentinean
Association of Psychiatry, and considered an authority in
his field, is that the psychopath is not a mentally ill
person, but a way to being in the world. That is to say:
an unusual variation of the human being that is
characterized by having special needs. The unmeasured seek
of power, of protagonism
or killing may be some of them. They work with
their own codes, different from the society ones, and they
are usually qualified to be storm captains because of
their high level of insensitivity and tolerance in extreme
points this expert, there are no kinds, but degrees or
intensities. As for that, the serial raper would be a more
intense or extreme psychopaths, than a daily one, but both
of them have the same personality.
At his 57
years-old, he is a professor of the University of Buenos
Aires (UBA), co director of the
Almeon neuropsychiatry magazine
(www.alcmeon.com) and coordinator of
the Spanish BlogSpot psiquiatria.com. From the 80s, he
worked in the Moyano, Esteves and Borda hospitals, where
he directed psychiatric semiology courses. His page on the
is a constant referent in studies about psychopathy.
As he explains in
the interview with LA NACION, theres a three percent of
the population with psychopaths characteristics. That is
to say, 1.200.000 people in Argentina. The relation is:
one woman out of three men. 300.000 ladies and 900.000
gentlemen. Why more men? I suspect because the woman uses
her power in her house environment, he claims.
How to distinguish a psychopath politician from
the one who is not?
– A basic characteristic of the
psychopath is that he is a liar, but not any liar. He is
an artist. Lies with the words, but also with his body. He
acts. He may, even, pretend sensitivity. You believe him
over and over because he is very convincing. An usual
leader knows that he has to accomplish his function during
an estimated time. Once the task is accomplished, he
leaves. The psychopath, however, once he is at the top, no
one can get him out: he wants to be once, twice three
times. He cant release the power, and least of all rely
it on someone else. Perhaps, you remember someone like
that? Another distinguishing feature is his ability of
manipulate people. Arround the psychopath leader, we can
find submissive people, who under his persuasive effect
are able to do things that otherwise he wouldnt.
Like under a spell, you mean?
Its subdued people, yes, and they can even have
high intellectual level. These kinds of leaders dont take
the citizens as people with rights: They take them as
things. Because the psychopath always works for himself,
although his speech would claim the contrary. People are
no more than an instrument. He lacks the emotional ability
of empathy, that is, the act of putting yourself in
someone else shoes. Everything for such a political leader
has to be at his service: people, money, famous box to buy
wills. They use money to put people under pressure, since
they use restriction.
The question of the typical psychopathic doing is: how do
I break others wills? With a charge, with a subsidy? How
do I split?
So the political clientele, according to you, is
a way to consider a person like a thing
Yes. Because it goes like this: I give you, but
you give me something back, you attend to a meeting, you
do what I ask. It is not an unmotivated giving moved by
sensitivity of wanting to help those in need. It is about
using people to build his own power.
That is clear, but, what would define it as a
The fact is that he is taking away the possibility
of choosing. The psychopath always leaves us without
options: manipulated people have an economic disadvantage
that leaves them without a way out: either I eat and
follow him, or I dont follow him, therefore I dont eat.
Peoples freedom is the ability to choose.
Does the psychopath leader know that he works
for himself or does he actually believe that he is
fighting for a higher cause?
It is very difficult to get into his mind. They
have a very different logic. However, either he believes
it or not, the flag he carries is always above himself,
beyond even this moment. This is usually seen, also, in
psychopath religious leaders, who refer to after dead
salvation. Other flags may be the reference to the new
man, the national project, the higher race, the nation,
the homeland. The psychopath always needs to find an enemy
to gather people. And, of course, he would never say:
Lets work for me.
What happens with these kind of politicians
during normal periods without deep crisis?
Well, here comes the problem, because, the
psychopath doesnt adapt to quietness. He needs the
crisis. He needs to be recognized as a savior. He plays no
part during peace. He cant stand it. That is why,
societies ruled by this kind of politicians live in
And cant this leader change? Can he learn from
No. He is always exactly as himself: psychopathy is
a non changing structure.
So far, you are describing them as
indestructible beings, but the must have a weak point.
Which may that be?
The frustration of their plans. When they go for a
project, they put everything on it, but it doesnt work.
Then, the psychopath gets disorganized and starts doing
nonsense. It is a controlling personality. That is why he
can have absolutely clumsy attitudes in time of
frustration. And, at this point, people notice his non
stopping mistakes, and that unit he built with his
persuasion starts to break down.
You claim they hold on to power and its
difficult to remove them. Any suggestions?
Well, it would take a lot of common normal leaders
or another strong psychopath that overcomes him. Among
many the psychopath leader could be removed, or at least
his power could be reduced. A different thing is learning
not to choose them. The psychopath needs to break the
stability here and there. That is why he needs to create
crisis. If you understand the way he works, you can
distinguish them and vote for different leaders, also very
charismatic but not psychopathic.
If a psychopathic politician read this
interview, would he recognize himself as such?
Of course not. He would finish reading and tell his
audience: How outrageous, how many psychopaths there are
walking around the world!
Doctor and professor: he worked from
1982 in the Moyano and Borda hospitals. He teaches at
graduated and postgraduate courses.
Writer: he wrote academic pieces
(Psychiatric Semiology (1996),
Psychopathy course (2009),
The complementary and his psychopath (2008),
and also theater plays and novels.