Saturday, March 09, 2013

Hugo Chavez 1954-2013, QESD

(Que en Sueños Descanse)

As a Chicano living in the U.S., compared to most people in the Third World, I live a privileged life, just by chance of birth. For that reason, I don't believe it's my right to criticize what the people of the poorest countries in the world decide to do to end their impoverishment, exploitation and repression they've suffered, especially by corporations and gov't agencies of my country. Nor what their democratically elected leaders decide to do, however flawed every dream. Such debate and struggle are for the people of that country to decide.

About this "maker of dreams":

"At this challenging time of President Hugo Chávez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government. As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights." – Statement of President Obama on the Death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, 3/5/13

Upon awarding Hugo Chavez the José Martí Prize:
"By embodying a nation’s aspiration to sovereignty and its struggle for liberty, his activity has contributed to the unity and integration of the countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and to the preservation of their identities, cultural traditions and historical values." The UN's UNESCO International José Martí Prize (to promote and reward an activity of outstanding merit in accordance with the ideals and spirit of José Martí)

"President Chavez will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment. During his 14-year tenure, Chavez joined other leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to create new forms of integration. Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time, allowing them to participate more effectively in their country's economic and political life.

Where Chavez supporters lived
"At the same time, we recognize the divisions created in the drive towards change in Venezuela and the need for national healing. We hope that as Venezuelans mourn the passing of President Chavez and recall his positive legacies -- especially the gains made for the poor and vulnerable -- the political leaders will move the country forward by building a new consensus that ensures equal opportunities for all Venezuelans to participate in every aspect of national life." – Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter

"President Chavez spoke to the challenges and aspirations of the most vulnerable Venezuelans. He provided decisive impetus for new regional integration movements, based on an eminently Latin American vision, while showing solidarity toward other nations in the hemisphere. His contribution to the current peace talks in Colombia between the Government of President Juan Manuel Santos and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) has been of vital importance." – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

"The death of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela caused a lot of sadness in Palestine and in my heart. President Chavez stood by Palestine and supported the rights of the Palestinian people all along." – Nabil Sha'ath, senior Palestinian official

"Per capita [Venezuelan] income grew about 2.5 percent annually, which is pretty good even compared to the rest of Latin America. It's vastly better than what they had before Chavez." – Mark Weisbrot, the co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research

"Today the United States lost a friend it never knew it had. And poor people around the world lost a champion. I lost a friend I was blessed to have. My thoughts are with the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela." – American gringo actor Sean Penn

Petare, Caracas
"He will be remembered as a great figure of Latin America, one who spoke up for the indigenous people and the poor and changed the whole narrative of the politics of the continent towards redistribution of wealth and spending oil resources on people rather than returning it to distant multi-national companies. I think he will be remembered very warmly by a lot of very marginalized and very poor people across the continent. His legacy is one that has asserted Latin American cultural values and asserted Latin America in a way that very few leaders in the whole continent ever have. I think he'll be remembered ... as somebody who stood up against very difficult odds." – Jeremy Corbyn, member of the British Parliament

The Cuban people think of him as one of their greatest sons, and have admired, followed and loved him as one of their own. Chavez is Cuban too! He felt in his flesh and bones our hard times and problems, and he did everything that he could, with extraordinary generosity.” – Communiqué from the Council of State led by President Raul Castro. (On March 5, Havana declared three days of national mourning for Chavez.)

Others who will remember Chavez:

Venezuela's Oil Giveaway - "In 2005, 13 U.S. Senators sent a letter to American oil companies seeking heating fuel aid for lower-income residents in northern states, a subsidiary of the state-owned Petroleos de Venezuela, Citgo was the only one to step forward.

"25,000 families received affordable heating oil for the winter, not caring that the help comes from a principle of Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution: the redistribution of oil revenues, especially for the poor." 5 million gallons of heating oil at a 40% discount (half price) went to low-income Philadelphia residents.

"Following that, Philadelphia, Boston, the Bronx and cities in Maine, Vermont and Rhode Island received 45 million gallons of the subsidized Citgo fuel, and other cities were slated for another 5 million. Citgo set aside about 10% of its refined petroleum for the program. Said Larry Birns, director of the Council on Hemispheric Affairs in Washington, D.C. "Unfortunately for the Bush Administration, Chavez is proving to be a more inventive thinker in terms of hemispheric politics." [This was after the Bush Administration was widely accused of backing a failed 2002 coup against Chavez, a charge it denies.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner: "The great legacy of Chavez is the social inclusion of millions of Venezuelans that used to be invisible and today are protagonists."

His strongest regional ally, Bolivia's Evo Morales: "We are hurt. We are devasted. We feel Hugo Chávez is more alive than ever. He will continue being an inspiration for people who fight for liberty."

Petare, Venezuela
Impoverished Venezuelans, like in Petare, a shantytown in western Caracas – "Chavez focused on developing welfare programs for the poor. The programs, called misiones sociales, have measurably reduced poverty in places like Petare.
"I would argue his legacy goes beyond that. Chavez ushered in a new area of populist leaders including Rafael Correa in Ecuador, Evo Morales in Bolivia and Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua. They have all borrowed Chavez's playbook by catering to the poor and railing against the United States, a country they call "the evil empire." They all benefited from cheap oil from Venezuela while Chavez made allies who helped him slowly but surely tilt Latin American politics to the left.

"Hugo Chavez was beloved by millions around the world. He changed the course of a continent and led a collective awakening of a people once silenced, once exploited and ignored. Chavez was a grandiose visionary and a maker of dreams.

"An honest man from a humble background who lived in a mud hut as a child and sold candies on the streets to make money for his family, Chavez dreamed of building a strong, sovereign nation, independent of foreign influence and dignified on the world scene. He dreamed of improving the lives of his people, of eradicating the misery of poverty and of offering everyone the chance of a better life, el buenvivir, as he called it.

"President Chavez made dreams come true. During his nearly 14 years of governance, Chavez's policies reduced extreme poverty in Venezuela by more than 75%, from 25% to less than 7% in a decade, according to statistics from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Overall poverty was reduced by more than 50%, from 60% in 1998 when Chavez first won office to 27% by 2008.

"Chavez was a maker of dreams. He recognized the rights of the disabled, of indigenous peoples, all genders and sexualities. He broke down barriers of racism and classism and declared himself a socialist feminist. He not only made his own dreams come true, but he inspired us all to achieve our fullest potential."
by Eva Golinger
(a NY attorney living in Caracas, Venezuela, since 2005; author of The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela and Bush vs. Chávez: Washington's War on Venezuela; Editor-in-Chief of the Correo del Orinoco International. Blog at

Chavez was the same hombre who had to deal with "changing public schools to a full day, including nutritional meals for students. Most schools had run only half-time, lacked air-conditioning, and were in such a state of neglect that they were beyond repair. Before Chavez, education was truly a disaster requiring at least 11 years of work and 4.5 billion dollars to improve."

Chavez's critics will raise questions of his stacking the Supreme Court, undermined production and shortages of basic food products, inflation, currency depreciation, a high murder rate, revocation of TV licenses and human rights alarms about repressing opposition and silencing dissent, and backing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Libyan Gaddafi. That's not a complete list.

Hugo Chavez quotes:
"Christopher Columbus was the spearhead of the biggest invasion and genocide ever seen in the history of humanity."

"Just look at the internal repression inside the United States, the Patriot Act, which is a repressive law against US citizens. They have put in jail a group of journalists for not revealing their sources. They won't allow them to take pictures of the bodies of the dead soldiers, many of them Latinos, coming from Iraq. Those are signs of Goliath's weaknesses."

"Israel has gone mad. It's attacking, doing the same thing to the Palestinian and Lebanese people that it has criticized - and with reason - [in the case of] the Holocaust. But this is a new Holocaust." - on Israel attacking Lebanon."

And his most notorious:
"The Devil is right at home. The Devil, the Devil himself, is right in the house. And the Devil came here yesterday. Yesterday the Devil came here. Right here. And it smells of sulphur still today. Yesterday, ladies and gentlemen, from this rostrum, the president of the United States, the gentleman to whom I refer as the Devil, came here, talking as if he owned the world. Truly. As the owner of the world." - on George W. Bush, who appeared before the UN General Assembly a day earlier in 2006.

Es todo, hoy,


msedano said...

how delightful to read obama getting the name of our country accurately, "the united states." Hugo Chavez will be remembered among the greatest American presidents in history.


Jose Rodriguez said...

I never met Chavez in person, but I spend many times in the Academia Militar de Venezuela, his alma mater, as a visiting cadet from the Escuela de Aviacion Militar. Back on those days, the Venezuelan military was decidedly anti-left wing, to the point of paranoia. I remember one day finding the “Communist Manifest” in a trash can in my barracks. I showed it to an alferez who made me burn it and swear not to tell anybody about the find, or everybody in the barracks would be in huge trouble, including calabozo time. That was the environment Chavez spent 4 years living in before getting a commission in the Army, which was indoctrinated by the infamous U.S ran School of the Americas in Panama (the same school that trained the Trujillos and Somozas). I went through the then standard anti-guerrilla warfare course, and it was a hard core course designed to eradicate (nice way to say kill) left wingers. I wonder if Chavez’s socialist ideas came after his commission or if he hid them so well for so many years. Love or hate the man, but he gave the poor in Venezuela a voice they never had, and improved their lot. Decades of previous democratic governments had failed miserably on that task, toeing the US line.

Jose Rodriguez

Anonymous said...

School of the Americas, one of the most shameful crimes-against-humanity venues for my taxes.

Best of luck, Jose Rodriguez, in your peoples' shaping their own future.


bloodmother said...

Excellent post, Rudy. Mind control is everywhere, but first you gotta eat, and he did feed his people.