Thursday, 7 March 2013

Don't Cry For Me Venezuela

Don't cry for me Venezuela*
The truth is I never left you
All through my wild days
My mad existence
I kept my promise
Don't keep your distance

He made the Time 100 of the Most Influential in 2005, 2006 and 2010 and the New Statesmen ranked him in the 50 People who Most Matter in 2010. The US considered him an irritant at best, and altogether despised him at worst. Maverick or charismatic hero, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born in 1958 and rose to become a vocal, populist president drawing support from the Venezuelan masses and dividing international opinion. The best and the worst usually do.  

Chávez is now dead, having succumbed to cancer. Venezuela mourns a man who captured popular sentiment and public adoration in a way that we have now come to associate with Latin American revolutionary figures - from Eva Peron to Che Guevara to Fidel Castro etc.

If there is a contemporary politician/revolutionary who has come close to mass democratic appeal whilst challenging imperialism and world-wide political hegemonies, then Chávez was one on his own. He used Venezuela's oil wealth to drive reforms at home - leading to higher food outputs and addressing basic health, power, education and housing needs. He extended his support across South America and built up political relations with international players outside the US sphere of influence. He famously fell out of favour with the US when he goaded the US for 'messing with him', referring to George W. Bush as a 'donkey'. Choice description.

Yo Soy Chavez!
(I am Chavez)



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