Tuesday, March 5, 2013

On the Passing of Hugo Chavez

On this day, the world has lost one of the giant figures of our time.  Hugo Chavez is a man who wasn't supposed to be in the position he was in.  He wasn't supposed to become the president of Venezuela.  He was an outsider.  He didn't represent the political classes which have dominated politics on the behalf of the oligarchs, the big capitalists.  He didn't view people as they did.  He didn't ask to be entrusted with the presidency of his country so that he could continue down the path that too many have called "democracy".  No, he represented something else, something empowering, something much closer to what people would understand to be true democracy.

For Hugo Chavez, empowering his countrymen, the masses of ignored people, the players in a game run by elites both Venezuelan and foreign, was the beginning of a revolution.  A revolution which was fought in the political arena of the enemies' of true democracy.  Although that arena and its rules were stacked in favor of the elites, it had a fatal flaw.  That flaw was that the desires of the forgotten masses could not be contained forever and their awakening, the election of Chavez became a reality.

I remember watching the news the day of the coup against him.  The news was upsetting.  Flashes of historical leaders being forced from power against the will of the people came to mind and for a little while I thought that the "champions of democracy" had been successful once again at destroying it.  But they weren't.  The Venezuelan people were alert and came out in support of their president and against the corrupt plotters and within a short period of time their democracy was restored.  The people had won again.

Pay attention to the people who so easily label Chavez a "dictator".  Pay attention to who they are.  Take note of the fact that their use of the word "dictator" is as slanderous as their use of the word "democracy".  When these people who attempt to portray the way things are in a way that just doesn't match how they really are, they are either inventing a new language or just plain liars.  Our societies are filled with people like this.

We must understand that these people cannot be trusted.  Leaders of the most advanced nations are most often nothing more than hypocrites.  They are more than willing to deal with real dictators and not only deal with them, but enable them, support them.  The only requisite to be on the good side of the leaders and "champions of democracy" is that one's interests must be aligned with theirs.  One can squash protests, teargas the public, disappear individuals, or even inherit a kingdom and not even recognize even the slightest appearance of a democratic mechanism.  There exist too many excuses why this is the case for us to believe such incoherence.

What is even more inspiring than just the awakening of the Venezuelan people and the multiple elections won by Chavez is that they aren't alone in their awakening.  More "dictators" were elected by the people in country after country in Latin America.  More elites were rejected by the populations that they had suffocated.  Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Argentina, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, all in their own way found ways to use their deformed democratic institutions to do the unlikely.  They have all chosen paths much different, to varying degrees, than the one prescribed by international bankers and multinational corporations.  Many have earned the label "dictator" and given its new meaning are proud of the paths they've chosen.  Much of this may not have happened if it hadn't been for the revolutionary Hugo Chavez.

Revolting means causing revulsion, nauseating, disgust.  Revolting is how the actions of men like Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa, Fidel Castro can be described if we take in to consideration the reactions of the spoiled elites who feel as if it is only their right, a right of that arrogant minority, to run the affairs of a nation or the world.  But revolution is itself a liberating feeling to those masses who are carrying out the process of taking a rotten system and replacing it with one based on principles of fairness and justice.

So let those undeserving leaders dripping in hypocrisy and arrogance feel revulsion.  Let the people yearning for justice feel liberated from the ignorance and arrogance.

There is no end of history.  There always is the desire to fight for and feel dignified.  Hugo Chavez passed away because his is human.  But what he embodied was the struggle of a people.  With his passing, it is no doubt a sad day.  But his passing doesn't mean that people will give up their struggle.  He represented not only his people, but all people who strive to create a better world.  He will be missed but what he left behind is a people much greater, much stronger, much more conscious, and much more determined than most elected leaders can claim.

Hugo Chavez, thank you for inspiring a continent and beyond.  Comandante Chavez can rest in peace knowing that millions of people are doing the work that he believed they are capable of.  Hugo Chavez is a true champion of democracy.  


  1. Thanks, your words have given me hope and a little bit of peace. I am heartbroken over the death of Hugo Chavez, and being surrounded by people in South Florida celebrating his death is maddening. It is shocking how misinformed the public is when it comes to President Hugo Chavez.

    Being Cuban, I am also terrified for Cuba… history has shown us Cuban-American Hard-liners get extra-vicious when sensing vulnerability.

    I really appreciate your blog, thanks again.

  2. I think if you step outside of Miami, take a deep breath, you'll feel better. I don't know of any country that may be prepared to face adversity more than Cuba.

    I think that the Venezuelan people are not going to reverse their course simply because Hugo Chavez is no longer alive. They've become participants in their society and have realized their potential.

    When you worry about the hard-liners' rhetoric and predictions, find comfort in the fact that they are usually wrong about everything.

    Thanks for the kind words.

  3. Venezuela is already crashing hard economically, what was once a rich country is now behind Chile. Say bye bye to the gold, which was already being sold when Chavez was alive.

    That said, I'm happy Chavez won the 2012 election, and I hope Maduro wins the next one. It will be important for Chavez's hand picked successor to reap the coming economic reckoning in Venezuela. Venezuela pays interest rates higher than most credit cards, and China has stopped lending money. The Venezuelan people will reverse course sooner or later because the course they are on requires ever increasing oil revenues, and those revenues are no longer increasing.

    Brazil provides a far better example for countries to follow, putting it in the same boat with Venezuela is laughable, and does a dis-service to Brazil and undermines your rhetorical position.