This article traces the shift in regional integration in Latin America from the 'open regionalism' of the 1990s to the current 'post-hegemonic' regionalism. We explore the contribution of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chávez in defining and promoting a distinctly new approach to the Latin American integration project. Chávez played a crucial role in the process by setting the agenda of integration and by pushing the boundaries of regional debate towards ideas, institutions and practices that initially seem radical but are often accepted through the passage of time. The article elaborates this thesis by exploring Chávez's role in constructing the political and economic architecture that has emerged in the region over the past decade. While not solely responsible for these developments, Chávez was a driving force, a fact with pertinent and uncertain consequences given his recent death troubles and the uncertainty over the future of Chavismo. © 2013 Association of Iberian and Latin American Studies of Australasia (AILASA).