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Hugo Chávez kept his promise to the people of Venezuela

category international | anti-capitalism | feature author Wednesday March 06, 2013 17:40author by Elric Report this post to the editors

The late Venezuelan president's Bolívarian revolution has been crucial to a wider Latin American philosophy

featured image
Hugo Chávez. RIP.

The Commandante is dead but the Revolution continues. If there is an afterlife then Chavez is in Valhalla.

He wrote, he read, and mostly he spoke. Hugo Chávez, whose death has been announced, was devoted to the word. He spoke publicly an average of 40 hours per week. As president, he didn't hold regular cabinet meetings; he'd bring the many to a weekly meeting, broadcast live on radio and television. Aló, Presidente, the programme in which policies were outlined and discussed, had no time limits, no script and no teleprompter. One session included an open discussion of healthcare in the slums of Caracas, rap, a self-critical examination of Venezuelans being accustomed to the politics of oil money and expecting the president to be a magician, a friendly exchange with a delegation from Nicaragua and a less friendly one with a foreign journalist.

Nicaragua is one of Venezuela's allies in Alba, the organisation constituted at Chávez's initiative to counter neoliberalism in the region, alongside Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia. It has now acquired a life of its own having invited a number of Caribbean countries and Mexico to join, with Vietnam as an observer. It will be a most enduring legacy, a concrete embodiment of Chávez's words and historical vision. The Bolívarian revolution has been crucial to the wider philosophy shared and applied by many Latin American governments. Its aim is to overcome global problems through local and regional interventions by engaging with democracy and the state in order to transform the relation between these and the people, rather than withdrawing from the state or trying to destroy it.

Because of this shared view Brazilians, Uruguayans and Argentinians perceived Chávez as an ally, not an anomaly, and supported the inclusion of Venezuela in their Mercosur alliance. Chávez's Social Missions, providing healthcare and literacy to formerly excluded people while changing their life and political outlook, have proven the extent of such a transformative view. It could be compared to the levelling spirit of a kind of new New Deal combined with a model of social change based on popular and communal organisation.

The facts speak for themselves: the percentage of households in poverty fell from 55% in 1995 to 26.4% in 2009. When Chávez was sworn into office unemployment was 15%, in June 2009 it was 7.8%. Compare that to current unemployment figures in Europe. In that period Chávez won 56% of the vote in 1998, 60% in 2000, survived a coup d'état in 2002, got over 7m votes in 2006 and secured 54.4% of the vote last October. He was a rare thing, almost incomprehensible to those in the US and Europe who continue to see the world through the Manichean prism of the cold war: an avowed Marxist who was also an avowed democrat. To those who think the expression of the masses should have limited or no place in the serious business of politics all the talking and goings on in Chávez's meetings were anathema, proof that he was both fake and a populist. But to the people who tuned in and participated en masse, it was politics and true democracy not only for the sophisticated, the propertied or the lettered.

All this talking and direct contact meant the constant reaffirmation of a promise between Chávez and the people of Venezuela. Chávez had discovered himself not by looking within, but by looking outside into the shameful conditions of Latin Americans and their past. He discovered himself in the promise of liberation made by Bolívar. "On August 1805," wrote Chávez, Bolívar "climbed the Monte Sacro near Rome and made a solemn oath." Like Bolívar, Chávez swore to break the chains binding Latin Americans to the will of the mighty. Within his lifetime, the ties of dependency and indirect empire have loosened. From the river Plate to the mouths of the Orinoco river, Latin America is no longer somebody else's backyard. That project of liberation has involved thousands of men and women pitched into one dramatic battle after another, like the coup d'état in 2002 or the confrontation with the US-proposed Free Trade Zone of the Americas. These were won, others were lost.

The project remains incomplete. It may be eternal and thus the struggle will continue after Chávez is gone. But whatever the future may hold, the peoples of the Americas will fight to salvage the present in which they have regained a voice. In Venezuela, they put Chávez back into the presidency after the coup. This was the key event in Chávez's political life, not the military rebellion or the first electoral victory. Something changed within him at that point: his discipline became ironclad, his patience invincible and his politics clearer. For all the attention paid to the relation between Chávez and Castro, the lesser known fact is that Chávez's political education owes more to another Marxist president who was also an avowed democrat: Chile's Salvador Allende. "Like Allende, we're pacifists and democrats," he once said. "Unlike Allende, we're armed."

The lesson drawn by Chávez from the defeat of Allende in 1973 is crucial. Some, like the far right and the state-linked paramilitary of Colombia would love to see Chavismo implode, and wouldn't hesitate to sow chaos across borders. The support of the army and the masses of Venezuela will decide the fate of the Bolívarian revolution, and the solidarity of powerful and sympathetic neighbours like Brazil. Nobody wants instability now that Latin America is finally standing up for itself. In his final days Chávez emphasised the need to build communal power and promoted some of his former critics associated with the journal Comuna. The revolution will not be rolled back. Unlike his admired Bolívar, Chávez did not plough the seas.

Related Link: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/mar/05/hug...ident
author by serfpublication date Wed Mar 06, 2013 01:20Report this post to the editors

An inspiration to many people who aspire to a better fairer world.

And a man with the balls to stand up to the US and to Israel and call a spade a spade.

We need more men like Hugo. His voice will be missed.

As a tribute, here is the infamous documentary "The revolution will not be televised":

author by Tpublication date Wed Mar 06, 2013 09:57Report this post to the editors

This is a sad day because Hugo Chavez was the one person who kept the flame alive for a better world and who was trying to do something about it.

We should note that he himself suspected that his cancer was caused by the CIA using some kind of personnel biological weapon designed to give cancer and which would have been easily injected by some operative. As we know his friend Fidel Castro was the target of hundreds of assassination attempts by the CIA.

author by An Drighneán Donn - Páirtí Cummanach na Poblachtapublication date Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:12Report this post to the editors

Hugo Chavez gave his all to raise the people of Venezuela from the horrific conditions US imperialism had put them in. In the process, he raised the hopes and courage of all of South America, and of the whole world. The loss of Al Gaddafi has been catastrophic for the hopes of all of Africa. We can only hope and pray that Hugo's death will not mean the same imperialist onslaught for South America. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam ró-uasal.

author by Brian Clarke - AllVoicespublication date Wed Mar 06, 2013 16:39Report this post to the editors

The Real News Network, Paul Jay.

"Venezuela's Real Division Over Who Benefits from Oil Wealth
Alex Main: American "Mainstream" media accuses Chavez of leaving Venezuela "divided and polarized", but Venezuela is not divided over Chavez's personality, it's whether oil wealth will go to the people or the elite"

Video News Link below;

Related Link: http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&...b-FOI
author by Des - Nonepublication date Wed Mar 06, 2013 19:09Report this post to the editors

He was a beacon of hope in a world of poverty, injustice and war. Let us hope his successor will carry on his good work. RIP Comrade!

author by fredpublication date Wed Mar 06, 2013 23:41Report this post to the editors

several well known viruses are known to cause cancer including several strains of the common HPV virus.

Given the Irish STI statistics, our previous "jim corr" commenter probably even has it himself!! ;-)

It's perfectly manageable to introduce a strain of this virus to somebody you don't like. Anyone could do it. It's highly contagious.

It might conceiveably (translation: already done by US military) be engineered to amplify it's cancer causing properties, making it a very handy and plausibly deniable personal assassination bioweapon.

We're talking basic genetic engineering applied to a very well known common virus here, not conspiracy theory.

Hugo was not being all that unreasonable in considering this as a possibility given the huge amount of oil involved and the previous behaviour of the US towards Fidel Castro and towards Venezuela in the past, not to mention the huge and very questionable investment in the US on research into biological weapons.

author by SIPTUpublication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 00:10Report this post to the editors

Press Release
SIPTU President expresses regret at death of Hugo Chavez

Date Released: 06 March 2013

SIPTU General President, Jack O’Connor, has expressed his deep regret at the tragic death of the Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez.

“I want to express my deep regret at the death of Hugo Chavez whose passing is a tragedy for the Venezuelan people and the oppressed and downtrodden of Latin America and the wider world.”

“His vision of an egalitarian society for which he strove so earnestly offered a humane and radical alternative to the collapsing edifice of the neo-liberal project which has wreaked such havoc across the globe.

“His death from cancer at such a young age is a sad loss for all progressive people and movements that aspire to fairness and justice in society.”

Related Link: http://www.siptu.ie/media/pressreleases2013/mainnews/fu....html
author by Tpublication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 00:16Report this post to the editors

Here is the opening paragraph from the Socialist Party commenting on the death of Chavez...

Hugo Chavez dies - the struggle continues
Written by Tony Saunois
Wednesday, 06 March 2013 13:00

Millions of Venezuelan workers, the poor and youth will mourn the death of Venezuelan president, Hugo Chavez on Tuesday 5 March. Thousands reportedly took to the streets in Caracas chanting “Todos somos Chavez”, ‘we are all Chavez’.

In an era when the gap between establishment politicians, who defend big business and the super-rich, and the masses seems to widen inexorably Chavez stood out. In fact in the age of austerity the measures he took to alleviate poverty stood out like a beacon.

The workers and youth in Venezuela will be joined by many around the globe who have been inspired to support Hugo Chavez’s regime as offering an alternative to imperialism, neoliberalism and capitalism.

Meanwhile the most pernicious right-wing capitalist commentators have wasted neither time nor ink in their outpourings of hatred of his regime.

The mourning of his passing and anger at these attacks must be channelled into a new stage of working class struggle for socialism in Venezuela and internationally...

The full text can be found on the SP website at the link below

Related Link: http://www.socialistparty.net/international/1149-hugo-c...inues
author by Tpublication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 00:23Report this post to the editors

And here is the libertarian reflections on Chavez....

Late this afternoon Nicolás Maduro, on behalf of the government of Venezuela, informed the country and the world of some news which though not unexpected nevertheless came as a shock: Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías had died.

We will no longer see one of the most important men in Latin America in the last decade. It is impossible not to be somewhat shaken by this fact. We do not doubt that they will be celebrating with the most expensive champagne in Chacao [1]. Naturally that is not our feeling, nor is it that of the Venezuelan masses. We can only feel solidarity with them in their sense of grief over the passing of one who in recent years was their undisputed leader and benchmark for the popular movement across the continent.

Full text at link

chavez_mojado_y_hablando.jpg

Related Link: http://www.anarkismo.net/article/25040
author by fredpublication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 01:34Report this post to the editors

here's another good article on counterpunch outlining the work chavez has done in Venezuela

http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/06/the-chavez-legacy/

author by Elricpublication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 02:45Report this post to the editors

Chávez Won't Go
By Farooque Chowdhury

http://www.countercurrents.org/chowdhury060313.htm

Chávez won't go. Class conflict ridden history shall not allow Chávez to go. He is part of history, part of people struggling against dispossession, exploitation and poverty, part of people struggling for democracy and dignity. “Those who die for life, can't be called dead,” said Nicolas Maduro, the Venezuelan vice-president. This makes Chávez live for ever among the people

The Revolution Within The Revolution Will Continue
By Kevin Zeese & Margaret Flowers

http://www.countercurrents.org/zeese060313.htm

If the United States and the oligarchs think the death of Chávez means the end of the Bolivarian Revolution he led, they are in for a disappointment. This revolution, which is not limited to Venezuela, is likely to show to itself and the world that it is deep and strong. The people-powered transformation with which Chávez was in solidarity will continue

Seeing Chavez Inside Ourselves
By Billy Wharton

http://www.countercurrents.org/wharton060313.htm

Ultimately the life of Hugo Chavez challenges us to look at our own lives. To see in ourselves, as he saw in himself and other common people, the spark of humanity capable of changing the world. If Chavez initiated a new kind of socialism for the 21st century, he did so with the implicit understanding that it was not his movement to complete. He merely offered a glimpse into a future where the needs and desires of the people, regular people like us, are more important than those of the 1% who seek to rule the world. The world changing message offered by Hugo Chavez is that another future is possible and that future begins with us

On The Legacy Of Hugo Chávez
By Greg Grandin

http://www.countercurrents.org/grandin060313.htm

Over the last fourteen years, Chávez has submitted himself and his agenda to fourteen national votes, winning thirteen of them by large margins, in polling deemed by Jimmy Carter to be “best in the world” out of the ninety-two elections that he has monitored

author by Con Carrollpublication date Thu Mar 07, 2013 15:52Report this post to the editors

no matter what the media say. political pundits bets. Chavez Spirit wasn't one person it was a nation. aslong as there is oppression alienation exploitation. working class spirit of resistance will always be there

author by serfpublication date Fri Mar 08, 2013 00:46Report this post to the editors

Heh! it was funny looking at the right wing captured media trying to diss chavez, but failing miserably because everything they said was bad about him was worse in their own country and in the US. And they still had to justify years of constant negative reporting on Chavez on their channels, despite the clear successes of Chavez for his people.

"He was an evil dictator"....erm....but the elections were the fairest and most monitored in the WORLD. He gave free heating oil to US citizens, housed the poor, taught them to read, kicked out greedy landowners and corporate types, helped pay off IMF debts of other countries like Argentina, free healthcare, subsidised food, free education, 5.8% unemployment, Hey.....I want some of that stuff. How come we don't have any of that here... what is this austerity shit?

"But he imprisoned some people unfairly"....ERM *cough* Guantanamo *cough* Belmarsh *cough* abu ghraib *cough* Saudi Arabia *cough* Israel
*cough* US has highest per capita privatised prison population in the known universe! *choke*

"his friends were evil Libya, Syria, North Korea, Iran, Cuba, Bolivia" Erm...you mean all the countries that wouldn't roll over and play ball with the US corporate vultures with their exploitative "free trade" agreements, privatisation of public utilities and financial speculation. What was the fate of all the countries who did roll over. Ah...Mr Perkins, ex economic hitman who previously worked in Latin America is here to tell us all about THAT process....

You could visibly see it was sticking in their throats that undeniably Chavez made things better for his people.

the only thing bad they could truthfully say was that the murder rate in Venezuela was high so they kept going on about that all the time.

author by JoeMcpublication date Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:28Report this post to the editors

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran arrived in Caracas early this morning for the funeral of Hugo Chavez . Ahmadinejad said that he would greatly miss the Venezuelan leader "He was a dear friend to all the countries of the world. To us, President Chavez's loss is very painful because we've lost a friend - a close friend - and a revolutionary and just leader."

In 2007, in the face of a deluge of lurid anti-Iranian propaganda in the western media –much of it directed against Ahmadinejad personally - President Chavez defiantly declared an "axis of unity" between Venezuela and Iran against US imperialism : The Chavez message of solidarity to Iran came two weeks after he had expelled two U.S. oil giants from Venezuela with the words , “This is the unity of the Persian Gulf and the Caribbean Sea." .

author by fredpublication date Mon Apr 15, 2013 07:21Report this post to the editors

despite the US bussing in lots of absentee voters to vote for Capriles:

http://www.denverpost.com/nationworld/ci_23020971/venez...ndays

and despite US funding for the "free market" opposition,

MADURO HAS WON!!!!!

VIVA MADURO, VIVA CHAVEZ,

VIVA LA BOLIVARIAN REVOLUTION!!

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