Has will go down in history as the most outstanding leader of the ongoing process of change in Latin America. The Bolivarian Revolution will not stop, because Chávez’s ideas have many more followers than people think, and many more than his opponents would like.
Hugo Chávez Frías, leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, has died, aged just 58-years-old. The people, whose hope was reflected in the figure of Chávez, lament his passing. But Chávez lives on as the leader and the inspiration for the poor and marginalised people who he fiercely defended.
Chávez will go down in history as the greatest leader of the current process of change across the continent; leader of the second and final Latin American independence.
His revolutionary legacy will continue to lead the way for a new Latin America that is independent and free from oppression.
The revolutionary process initiated by Chávez is irreversible, driven by the strong support of the Venezuelan people, despite the conspiracies of imperial powers and the oligarchy.
His right-wing opponents and the defenders of the status quo made Chávez the target of class-based hatred, and with their fierce attacks they made it possible to obliterate him, orchestrating campaigns to discredit and demonise him.
They nicknamed him “Commander” and “Dictator”, suggesting that the Bolivarian Revolution was not democratic because it did not conform to their interests.
Chávez was able to respond to his calling in the historic time that he lived. Assimilating the legacy of Bolivar and other heroes of Latin American emancipation, he understood that a second independence was a work in progress. He emerged at a time when people had to respond to the brutal attacks by the neoliberal Washington Consensus.
This led to the Caracazo riots in 1989, resistance by the people of Venezuela, and brought Chávez to lead the uprising that was thwarted in 1992. The people had awoken and the corrupt regime of the Fourth Republic’s days was numbered. Chávez’s first electoral victory was in 1998, marking an historic change on Latin American soil, comparable to the Cuban Revolution in 1959, and the Sandinista triumph in Nicaragua in 1979.
Chávez launched a new kind of revolution, inspired by the message of Simon Bolivar, so-called the Bolivarian Revolution or 21st Century Socialism. From the very beginning, Chávez was always subject to the verdict of popular will.
He never departed from the rules of democracy, as his opponents suggest. All the actions of his Bolivarian government were according to the rules stipulated by the Bolivarian Constitution. The right-wing has never been, nor will they ever agree to a democracy of popular will, and to act according to the people’s interests. This democracy supported by the people is one of the most significant of Hugo Chávez’s legacies.
This influence was not limited to Chávez’s own country, it extended across all of Latin America. Chávez’s presence and his distinctive oratory skills in international forums, like the time when he chastised George Bush, gave him the status of a world statesman.
He was the author, along with other Latin American leaders, of the new plan for the continent. From this came UNASUR (Union of South American Nations), ALBA (The Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas), and CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States), as true instruments for freedom and independence in Latin America and the Caribbean.
For Chávez, this new-found unity in Latin America had to be based on the sovereign defence of natural resources, in fighting against poverty and the claims of the excluded majority, and above all on independent, sovereign governments. Latin America must never again be known as a “back yard” to the United States or any other foreign power.
Evidently Chávez has left many legacies, their full appropriation will still require time and effort. The connection and the solidarity with Venezuelan people all across the world, brought together by the death of Chávez, is indicative of just how the influence of his legacy has reached across the seas.
As a man of action Chávez was also an ideologue, a man of ideas guided by intuition and passion rather than grey logic and mere theory. He knew, creatively, that he should join the different aspects of the Christian message in his liberation, with socialism, nativism, the Cuban revolution, Che Guevara’s legacy, the anti-imperialist struggles and especially the legacy of Simon Bolivar. Chávez, in his own way, was the Lenin for the poor in Latin America. He was an initiator and promoter of the unity of the Patria Grande en route to their ultimate emancipation.
For the first time in Venezuelan history, the country’s largest natural resource – oil – served the interest of the Venezuelan people and not multinational corporations. This action was also intended to support neighbouring countries in a gesture of brotherhood and solidarity, strengthening the relationship between the ALBA countries.
Chávez will be remembered for his courage to face the imperial powers and for his fight against the disastrous neoliberal model. His legacy is primarily shown through the organisation of the regular, working-class people, of the everymen. This would not have been possible without a people’s party, the PSUV (The United Socialist Party of Venezuela), without the task forces, and all the social programs for youth and for women that benefit the majorities with better health and education.
Chávez is dead, but the Venezuelan people are on high-alert because the right-wing and the oligarchy look ripe for further plotting. However, they will be met with a people united and prepared, filled with pain but also with courage; a people determined to continue to push for a socialist revolution.
The Bolivarian Revolution will not end, because Chávez is still alive in the hearts of all free men and women of Latin America.
New challenges and new general elections in Venezuela are just around the corner, and there are also new dangers. Grief over the loss of the great Bolivarian leader will simultaneously force the people who know to continue with, and to realise Chávez’s dream of the construction of the new socialist Bolivarian homeland.
(Translated by Grace Essex – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)