¡hugo chavez presente!

Hugo Chavez is dead. President Chavez was a giant on the international stage, helping create a new dynamic in Latin America, with the continent discovering its self-confidence, and breaking with the influence of the United States in the region. But more than that, in Venezuela he was on the side of the poor, using the country’s resources to improve the lives of ordinary people, and unlike the opposition, a democrat who won time after time in transparent and fair elections.

A member of the Campaign, Ben Gregory, paid tribute to President Chavez on Radio Cymru this morning:

The Venezuela Solidarity Campaign offered their own tribute to Chavez:

“Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias, President of Venezuela, died on March 5th at 4:25 hrs (local time) after a long and hard battle against cancer. He was 58 years old.

He led the progressive transformation of Venezuela by lifting millions of its citizens from poverty – standing against social exclusion, marginalisation and institutional repression – thereby restoring to them a long-overdue dignity.

Under President Chavez’s leadership, his government’s policies improved the life of ordinary Venezuelans as no other government had ever done in the history of that South American nation.

Chavez also played a leading role in the transformation of Latin America into a progressive continent, which in the 21st century is collectively affirming the sovereignty of the nation states that make it up, and where, in different ways and through nationally-specific routes, they have been attempting to build a better world.

Hugo Chavez will continue to symbolise, for decades to come, the aspirations of dignity, sovereignty, justice and a better life as fully empowered citizens, for people all around the world.

He showed that a better world could be constructed.

Our hearts go to his family, friends, comrades, the people of Venezuela, and the people of Latin America”.

To understand the influence of Chavez, read Seamus Milne’s article in the Guardian a fortnight ago (see here). Without Chavez, the economic, social and political improvements Milne describes wouldn’t have happened. It’s likely that Hugo Chavez will join his hero, Simon Bolivar, as one of those rare individuals who change the direction of a continent.

A full analysis of Hugo Chavez’s achievements, and the challenges now facing Venezuela, appeared this afternoon on Democracy Now! (listen here).


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