Hola mi amigos!
Buenvenidos and Ding Dong, for the Dictator Hugo Chavez is dead! God struck Hugo Chavez dead with his awesome power! Let this be a message to all dictators! If God’s President Obama called you out into the Axis of Evil, your days are numbered!
For years Hugo Chavez broke the greatest commands of the Bible, refusing to bow before America’s glory and freely share all the oil in his country with the nation drafted to protect the Western hemisphere from communist East Bloc tyranny.
Chavez always bad-mouthed President George W. Bush and even made friends with mean spirited dictators like Saddam Hussein and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It is rumored that Adolph Hitler may have been hiding in Argentina as well.
Most famously, Hugo Chavez threatened to not share our oil in Venezuela and Argentina with us. America automatically owns the Western hemisphere by virtue of the Monroe Doctrine, so his actions were criminal and unjust.
ith Chavez out of the way, South America is in chaos and it is the perfect chance for America to muscle in and coerce a governor over the people, to kindly rule them toward democracy and setup some Halliburton drilling. Hopefully you fools invested in that company because the fields will be a-flowing with the beautiful crude oil!
How appropriate that the Wizard of Oz is coming back to theaters soon, because the wicked dictator is dead. Bye-bye.
Millions of Venezuelans, Cubans and people around the world have paid homage to Latin American revolutionary Hugo Chávez Frias in recent days. Some 33 heads of state and representatives of 50 governments attended Chávez’s funeral.
In the first hours that he lay in state, 2 million grief-stricken Venezuelans bid their beloved Comandante farewell, in a line that stretched as long as five miles. From Mexico City to New York City, countless vigils are being organized by supporters, inspired by Chávez’s revolutionary spirit and life.
But President Barack Obama—in a 60-word statement with not one word of condolence—just promised more “policies that promote democratic principles” in Venezuela.
Obama’s cynical attitude sums up Washington’s role ever since Hugo Chávez became president. The U.S. government has spent billions of dollars to back the Venezuelan right-wing elite in one plot after another to try to overthrow him and the Bolivarian Revolution.
Hugo Chávez’s tragic and untimely death may have whetted the U.S. government’s appetite, but the imperialists are deeply mistaken if they think they can turn back history.
The massive outpouring in Venezuela is not just an expression of deep sentiment for a fallen leader. The cries of “We are Chávez!” and “Chávez Vive!” are a resounding commitment by the people, the masses who brought him back from the grip of a U.S.-sponsored military coup in 2002.
Today, they are more determined than ever to defend the Bolivarian Revolution.
Preparing for the future
When Chávez announced on December 8, 2012, that he had to return to Cuba immediately for another cancer surgery, he was very likely aware that his condition was terminal and little time remained.
He conducted himself to the end of his days in the heroic manner that characterized his life.
In what would be his last public pronouncement to the Venezuelan people, Chávez said: “If something were to happen, I repeat, if I were to become incapacitated in any way, not only should Nicolás Maduro conclude the [current] term, as the Constitution dictates, but, in my firm opinion, as full as the moon, irrevocable, absolute, total—if in that scenario new presidential elections are convened, as mandated by the Constitution—you should vote for Nicolás Maduro as president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. I ask that of you from my heart.”
He was never able to speak to his people again.
Those fateful words are extremely important, because now the election for a new president must be held within 30 days of Chávez’s death.
On March 9, the National Elections Commission set April 14 as the date to elect a new president of Venezuela. The date was extended to give time for nominations, preparation of voting machines, and a 10-day campaign period and to accommodate a Sunday date.
In the meantime, Maduro has been sworn in as interim president, and is the designated candidate for the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV). Presumably, the right-wing opposition candidate will be Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chávez last Oct. 7.
Chávez’s enormous authority enabled him to convey to the 7 million members of the PSUV what is today a matter of pressing urgency, to unite behind a revolutionary candidate who can once again defeat the opposition.
Chávez recognized that his word would carry enormous weight among the masses, to weather the onslaught of right-wing propaganda and assault sure to come after his death.
Hugo Chávez had an abiding confidence in the people because he understood them. He came from them, from the most humble roots of Venezuelan society.
Hugo Chávez’s youth
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was born July 28, 1954, in the small, remote village of Sabaneta, Barinas state in western Venezuela, the second of six children. Hugo and his older brother Adán—today governor of Barinas—were raised by their grandmother Rosa Inés, while the parents Elena and Hugo, schoolteachers with a meager income, lived close by with the youngest four. This was a common tradition among extended families.
Some of the stories of Chávez’s youth come from his neighbors and relatives, in the book “Our Chávez” by Cuban authors Rosa Miriam Elizalde and Luis Baez.
The village of Sabaneta had no electricity during their childhood, and the family struggled to get by. In one moving account, little Hugo was turned away from his first day at school because his grandmother couldn’t afford to buy him a pair of shoes.
But he learned resourcefulness from his elders, selling candies at school that his grandmother made, to bring home some coins.
Chávez’s young life imbued in him an enormous spirit of solidarity and generosity with the people, especially the most oppressed. As president, one of Chávez’s very first acts was to provide free school lunches for hundreds of thousands of poor children. School attendance shot up dramatically.
Years later, in July 2001, when this reporter joined thousands of people as they marched with Chávez down the streets of Caracas, he patiently took the time to receive embraces and handwritten notes from the people, to hear their encouragement or petitions for help. He made sure their needs were addressed.
Yet Chávez did not see himself as an individual whose good works alone would be enough to resolve Venezuela’s problems.
He began to adopt a concept of revolutionary societal change while in Venezuela’s Military Academy, which he entered at the age of 17 in 1971.
In the academy and army, Chávez’s radicalization was fueled by various factors, his brother Adán’s socialist influence, his own growing rebellion against military corruption and abuse, and the broader scenario of Latin American struggle.
In “Our Chávez,” he explains his political maturation: “The Hugo Chavez who started at the Academy was a boy from the countryside, a plainsman with aspirations to be a professional baseball player; four years later, a second lieutenant emerged who had set out along the revolutionary path. …
“At that stage, I began to read Fidel, Che, Mao, Plekhanov, Zamora … and books like The Bigwigs by Américo Martín; ‘The role of the individual in history’; ‘What is to be done’. And of course, I had already begun a thorough study of Bolívar.”
In 1982, Chávez formed a secret organization, the MBR 200 (Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement), of like-minded officers inside the military willing to take on the government. He would be their commander in the historic attack on the government in 1992.
Meanwhile, Carlos Andrés Pérez became president—his second term—in 1989. He immediately accepted the economic dictates of the International Monetary Fund in exchange for a multi-billion-dollar loan. The neo-liberal agreement suddenly doubled gasoline prices and hiked the price of other goods. It caused a massive spontaneous rebellion by the people in the streets of Caracas.
The uprising of Feb. 27, 1989, and government massacre that followed is known as the “Caracazo.” It is estimated that up to 3,000 people were murdered by security forces.
This brutal repression convinced Chávez and his colleagues of the need to deepen their preparations.
In the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 4, 1992, Chávez and his movement carried out their military action to attempt a takeover of Miraflores presidential palace, but they were attacked as soon as they approached. Traitors inside the movement had revealed their plans.
Historic words: “For Now”
By the end of the day, Pérez’s military defeated Chávez’s forces and was about to carry out an assault on troops loyal to him in two other regions. To avoid further losses of his men, Chávez appeared on television to tell his troops to stop the fighting.
In his TV appeal, the rebel lieutenant colonel said, “Comrades, unfortunately, for now, the goals we set for ourselves have not been reached in the capital. … we here in Caracas were not able to take power. … I assume responsibility for this Bolivarian military movement.”
Those two words, “for now,” electrified the vast majority of the population. Never before had a soldier taken on the corrupt government to vindicate the people, and he had promised to return.
In prison, Chávez became such a hero in the eyes of the oppressed, that during the presidential elections, wherever the bourgeois candidates spoke, people at the political rallies would chant for his freedom. The next president, Rafael Caldera Rodríguez, pardoned Chávez and his colleagues in March 1994.
At first reluctant to participate as a candidate in Venezuelan elections, because of his distrust of capitalist elections, Chávez was urged on by many people. He finally decided to run for president in the 1998 elections.
With no funds and only broken-down vehicles for transport, he traversed the country to denounce the traditional capitalist parties of Democratic Action and COPEI as those responsible for the country’s crisis. Huge crowds mobbed him every step of the way.
Chávez won in December 1998 with 56.2 percent of the vote under the banner of his Fifth Republic Movement. He assumed office in February 1999.
The words he spoke in his oath were unlike those of any previous president. “I swear that with this moribund constitution, I will carry out and push for the necessary democratic transformations so that the new republic will acquire a new Magna Carta fitting for the new times.”
In a process that has been repeated in Ecuador and Bolivia, the new Bolivarian Constitution of Venezuela was adopted in 1999. It was the 26th constitution in Venezuela’s history, but the first that was ever approved by popular referendum, with 71.78 percent of the vote.
Free health care, free education, a ban on privatizing the country’s national resources, recognition of Indigenous and other minorities to their own culture and language, and a democratization of the political process are a few of the provisions.
Chávez was swept into office with a massive outpouring of support of the most oppressed, and he responded with all his energies and power at hand to initiate immediate and urgent programs to address the poorest sectors of the population, as well as working to empower the people at the base to defend the gains.
But it was after the right-wing’s fascist coup of April 2002—when people mobilized by the tens of thousands to demand his return and the military forces loyal to Chávez rescued him from the fascists—that the acceleration of the revolutionary process became possible.
Hugo Chávez’s legacy
Before Hugo Chávez, Venezuela was a classic model of capitalist underdevelopment: obscene opulence for the Venezuelan elite and foreign capitalists, and poverty and hopelessness for the majority. Under Chávez and the Bolivarian Revolutionary process, a whole panorama of revolutionary social programs lifted millions of Venezuelans up out of despair.
His courage and vision transformed his people into a combative force that has learned to defend what it has gained, the right to housing, health care, literacy, education, culture and most of all, independence and dignity.
Before Hugo Chávez, Latin America was fractured and under the heel of neo-liberal policies that benefited only the banks and big business. In the 1990s, Cuba was virtually alone in the Western Hemisphere, struggling mightily to defend socialism after the demise of the Soviet Union.
Chávez embraced the Cuban Revolution as his own and proudly defied U.S. imperialism, by forming together with Cuba the historic alliance of the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas—ALBA. After decades of the sacking of Latin America and the Caribbean, an unprecedented process of anti-imperialist unity and transformation has begun in the continent.
One of Hugo Chávez’s greatest legacies was his fight for a socialist Venezuela, to expand and make permanent the gains that have been fought for so far.
From the viewpoint of Marxism, history and especially revolutionary change are made by great social forces and through the agency of class struggle. Marxism rejects the method of bourgeois historiography that places the role of “great men” as the central factor in the major events and developments that shape an entire historical era.
But Marxism also recognizes that particular individuals have played an indispensable part in molding together the social and political forces that created entirely new historical forces. The Russian Revolution for instance changed the character of the class struggle everywhere for the 20th century. Lenin played a unique and indispensable role during the revolutionary process, and without him it is unlikely that the Bolsheviks could have seized and retained state power.
Fidel’s leadership was another such example. His initiation and leadership of the Cuban Revolution was indispensable to its victory.
Lenin and Fidel did not simply ride a wave of revolution; they actually helped mold the forces that led to a re-shaping of history
So too with Hugo Chávez. The unique role he played in the last 15 years also molded together the forces of Latin American integration and unity on an anti-imperialist and socialist basis and changed the dynamics of the class struggle not only in Venezuela but throughout the continent. Chavez, like Lenin or Fidel was not a “superman,” but his role in the creation of ALBA and the larger unfolding process in Latin America was unique and indispensable during the past decade.
Today, the people and the struggle have been dealt a major blow with the loss of this great leader. But the social and political revolutionary movement that he catalyzed will offer up other leaders dedicated to pursuing the movement until final victory.
Upon his death, comrade Chavez has entered history not only as revolutionary life well led but as a source of confidence for all those who have been shaped by the movement he inspired—the millions who are oppressed and have been the object of extreme exploitation but have entered the political process now as actors demanding to be the shapers of their own historical destiny.
Hugo Chávez Frias Presente!
With an outpouring of great sadness, the world witnessed the passing of one of the great revolutionary leaders of our time, the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Hugo Chavez, who died on Tuesday, March 5, 2013.
All who value human rights and democracy, which does not include the Washington regime, will miss his inspired leadership.
A staunch fighter against US hegemony in the Americas, President Chavez warned, “But as we all must know, the imperial threat against our beloved Homeland [Venezuela] is alive and latent.”
No sooner had news of his untimely death been announced when lackeys from the US were caught busily trying to stir up a military coup against the Venezuelan government. Vice President Nicholas Maduro announced that a US Air Force attaché and another embassy official were being expelled for plotting to destabilize the government. Previously, the US had attempted a coup in April 2002, but President Chavez managed to return to office within 2 days.
Standing firm against the US oil giants, President Chavez nationalized Exxon Mobil’s Venezuelan heavy oil assets in the Orinoco Belt in 2007, and came out the winner against them in the subsequent litigation. Predictably in response to his death, the well-oiled capitalists of Wall Street rejoiced with an orgy of record highs on the New York stock exchange, accompanied no doubt by wild dreams of “reclaiming” Venezuela. Joining in the right-wing rapture were US politicians from both factions of the corporate party, who greeted the tragic news gleefully. With typical Republican vitriol, Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) stated, “His death dents the alliance of anti-US leftist leaders in South America.”
Particularly noteworthy for its vileness was the statement by Congressman Tom Cotton (R-AR), who acrimoniously declared, “After the welcome news of Hugo Chavez’s death… I look forward to working in the House to promote a free, democratic, and pro-American government in Venezuela.” US President Obama, displaying a minimal facade of respect, stated, “At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government.”
One US official, Representative José E. Serrano (D-NY) broke away from pack of foul-mouthed US political vultures vomiting their venom and actually spoke reverently and candidly about the deceased Venezuelan leader:
“He believed that the government of the country should be used to empower the masses, not the few. He understood democracy and basic human desires for a dignified life. His legacy in his nation, and in the hemisphere, will be assured as the people he inspired continue to strive for a better life for the poor and downtrodden.”
Constantly demeaned in the capitalist-dominated Western media who referred to him as a “theatrical leader,” a “showman,” “insane” or worse, President Chavez left a substantial legacy of progress in his country. Over the last decade in Venezuela, poverty fell by over 20 percent, income inequality is down over 2 percent as measured on the Gini index, the unemployment rate was halved, medical services have been expanded to communities that never before had even a clinic, and the country has been recognized as a leader in providing free internet access for its citizens.
This has been accomplished as a result of President Chavez’s enlightened leadership, which has created a government that invests 60 percent of its income in social programs for the benefit of its population, instead of for the benefit of the moneyed elite. At the funeral, Reverend Jesse Jackson eulogized him, saying, “Hugo fed the hungry. He lifted the poor. He raised their hopes. He helped them realize their dreams.”
Among his list of humanitarian programs was providing free heating oil to poor Americans who could not afford the high prices charged by the price-gouging US oil companies. Initiated in 2005 after the dismal failure of the Bush administration to help victims of hurricane Katrina, the program, which helps some 400,000 people, is a lifeline for the retired, elderly and those who otherwise would have to depend on the poorly funded LIEAP (Low Income Energy Assistance Program) that has been subject to 25% budget cuts by the Obama administration.
When torrential rains in late 2010 left over 130,000 Venezuelans homeless, President Chavez responded with an initiative named the Great Housing Mission whose goal is to provide 2 million affordable housing units for needy families within seven years. With almost 300,000 units already under construction, the program is diametrically opposed to the US response to the 2008 financial crisis, which provided bailouts to prop up the same financial institutions that caused the foreclosure flood in the first place by their predatory lending practices and unethical trading in mortgage-backed bonds and derivatives.
In short, President Chavez wisely invested in his fellow citizens while Obama greedily invested in his fellow bankers.
The wisdom of President Chavez’s economic policies can be judged by the results: Despite a lagging world economy, Venezuela has posted 8 successive quarters of GDP growth with the last quarter of 2012 at an enviable 5.2 percent; unemployment continues to fall as minimum wages have risen every year; and the oil sector grew at a rate of 1.6 percent while the construction, finance, transportation, community services/non profits, and communications sectors all grew at rates exceeding that of the GDP.
Again, compare these statistics with the abysmal record of the United States, whose 2012 4th quarter GDP grew a sickly 0.1 percent, with 12 out of 22 industrial sectors contributing to the “slowdown” led by retail trade and durable goods, and whose people are suffering from a 4-percent decline in their disposable income in January 2013. In stark contrast to the otherwise pathetic US economy is the 2012 3rd quarter $68.1-billion increase in profits of US financial corporations, which are still doing quite well, judging by the record highs on Wall Street.
President Chavez leaves a country behind that proudly sets the standard for other countries when it comes to holding fair and transparent democratic elections. The most recent presidential election on October 7, 2012 was witnessed by a team of 245 lawyers, election officials, academics and elected representatives from around the world, and saw a voter turnout of over 80 percent. The Venezuelan electoral system, praised for its “professionalism and technical expertise,” boasts sophisticated voting machines that identify voters by fingerprinting which must coincide with the individual’s identity number, thereby practically eliminating the possibility of election fraud.
While the US struggles to pass sensible reforms to its all too permissive gun ownership laws, Venezuela under President Chavez destroyed over 50,000 seized firearms in 2012. He also instituted the “Venezuela Full of Life” program, which imposed a one-year ban on the importing of firearms and ammunition, in order to enhance the safety and security of the citizenry. Organized under the Chavez administration in 2009, the Bolivarian National Police has played a leading role in public safety, crime prevention and community engagement.
Another notable accomplishment by President Chavez is the inclusion of the rights of indigenous people under the Venezuelan constitution. Ratified in 1999, Article 119 states:
“The State recognizes the existence of native peoples and communities, their social, political and economic organization, their cultures, practices and customs, languages and religions, as well as their habitat and original rights to the lands they ancestrally and traditionally occupy, and which are necessary to develop and guarantee their way of life.”
Additionally, indigenous people are guaranteed representation in the Venezuelan National Assembly, while in the US, Native peoples are excluded from representation by Article 1 Section 2 of the constitution, which only apportions full personhood to free “persons,” meaning whites.
President Chavez worked hard to gain the passage of comprehensive labor laws that protect the rights of workers. The new law signed on May 1, 2012 includes provisions prohibiting the unjust dismissal of workers, requiring the payment of severance pay to the employee regardless of the reason for termination of employment, and empowering the Labor Ministry to impose sanctions on businesses that violate the law.
Additionally, discrimination based on nationality, sexual orientation, membership in a labor union, prior criminal record, or any type of handicap is prohibited. Compare this to US labor law, where draconian “Right to Work” laws undermine employees’ ability to organize, and “At Will” employment practices allow an employer to fire an employee for virtually any reason. Of course there are restrictions, but the legal burden of proof is upon the employee who rarely can afford proper legal representation.
Hugo Chavez was a visionary: a rare leader who cared about his people and envisioned a prosperous society in which all could share in the benefits, not just an exclusive few. President Chavez has left this world, but his legacy remains with us. It is now up to us – those of us who share his noble dream of a just society and are willing to struggle for it – to fight on until the last link in the oppressive chain of imperialistic capitalism is broken.
The late Venezuelan president’s Bolívarian revolution has been crucial to a wider Latin American philosophy
Hugo Chávez. RIP.
The Commandante is dead but the Revolution continues. If there is an afterlife then Chavez is in Valhalla.
He wrote, he read, and mostly he spoke. Hugo Chávez, whose death has been announced, was devoted to the word. He spoke publicly an average of 40 hours per week. As president, he didn’t hold regular cabinet meetings; he’d bring the many to a weekly meeting, broadcast live on radio and television. Aló, Presidente, the programme in which policies were outlined and discussed, had no time limits, no script and no teleprompter. One session included an open discussion of healthcare in the slums of Caracas, rap, a self-critical examination of Venezuelans being accustomed to the politics of oil money and expecting the president to be a magician, a friendly exchange with a delegation from Nicaragua and a less friendly one with a foreign journalist.
Nicaragua is one of Venezuela’s allies in Alba, the organisation constituted at Chávez’s initiative to counter neoliberalism in the region, alongside Cuba, Ecuador and Bolivia. It has now acquired a life of its own having invited a number of Caribbean countries and Mexico to join, with Vietnam as an observer. It will be a most enduring legacy, a concrete embodiment of Chávez’s words and historical vision. The Bolívarian revolution has been crucial to the wider philosophy shared and applied by many Latin American governments. Its aim is to overcome global problems through local and regional interventions by engaging with democracy and the state in order to transform the relation between these and the people, rather than withdrawing from the state or trying to destroy it.
Because of this shared view Brazilians, Uruguayans and Argentinians perceived Chávez as an ally, not an anomaly, and supported the inclusion of Venezuela in their Mercosur alliance. Chávez’s Social Missions, providing healthcare and literacy to formerly excluded people while changing their life and political outlook, have proven the extent of such a transformative view. It could be compared to the levelling spirit of a kind of new New Deal combined with a model of social change based on popular and communal organisation.
The facts speak for themselves: the percentage of households in poverty fell from 55% in 1995 to 26.4% in 2009. When Chávez was sworn into office unemployment was 15%, in June 2009 it was 7.8%. Compare that to current unemployment figures in Europe. In that period Chávez won 56% of the vote in 1998, 60% in 2000, survived a coup d’état in 2002, got over 7m votes in 2006 and secured 54.4% of the vote last October. He was a rare thing, almost incomprehensible to those in the US and Europe who continue to see the world through the Manichean prism of the cold war: an avowed Marxist who was also an avowed democrat. To those who think the expression of the masses should have limited or no place in the serious business of politics all the talking and goings on in Chávez’s meetings were anathema, proof that he was both fake and a populist. But to the people who tuned in and participated en masse, it was politics and true democracy not only for the sophisticated, the propertied or the lettered.
All this talking and direct contact meant the constant reaffirmation of a promise between Chávez and the people of Venezuela. Chávez had discovered himself not by looking within, but by looking outside into the shameful conditions of Latin Americans and their past. He discovered himself in the promise of liberation made by Bolívar. “On August 1805,” wrote Chávez, Bolívar “climbed the Monte Sacro near Rome and made a solemn oath.” Like Bolívar, Chávez swore to break the chains binding Latin Americans to the will of the mighty. Within his lifetime, the ties of dependency and indirect empire have loosened. From the river Plate to the mouths of the Orinoco river, Latin America is no longer somebody else’s backyard. That project of liberation has involved thousands of men and women pitched into one dramatic battle after another, like the coup d’état in 2002 or the confrontation with the US-proposed Free Trade Zone of the Americas. These were won, others were lost.
The project remains incomplete. It may be eternal and thus the struggle will continue after Chávez is gone. But whatever the future may hold, the peoples of the Americas will fight to salvage the present in which they have regained a voice. In Venezuela, they put Chávez back into the presidency after the coup. This was the key event in Chávez’s political life, not the military rebellion or the first electoral victory. Something changed within him at that point: his discipline became ironclad, his patience invincible and his politics clearer. For all the attention paid to the relation between Chávez and Castro, the lesser known fact is that Chávez’s political education owes more to another Marxist president who was also an avowed democrat: Chile’s Salvador Allende. “Like Allende, we’re pacifists and democrats,” he once said. “Unlike Allende, we’re armed.”
The lesson drawn by Chávez from the defeat of Allende in 1973 is crucial. Some, like the far right and the state-linked paramilitary of Colombia would love to see Chavismo implode, and wouldn’t hesitate to sow chaos across borders. The support of the army and the masses of Venezuela will decide the fate of the Bolívarian revolution, and the solidarity of powerful and sympathetic neighbours like Brazil. Nobody wants instability now that Latin America is finally standing up for itself. In his final days Chávez emphasised the need to build communal power and promoted some of his former critics associated with the journal Comuna. The revolution will not be rolled back. Unlike his admired Bolívar, Chávez did not plough the seas.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez‘s death is not likely to result in near-term changes to the Venezuelan oil industry or global energy landscape, but it could ultimately result in political change that would reopen the country’s energy industry to foreign investment.
As news of Chavez’s death swept through IHS CERAWeek, the world’s largest conference for energy executives, in Houston on Tuesday afternoon, participants flocked to televisions, looking for news on the political future of a country that has the second largest oil reserves in the world.
“It’s too soon to say what Hugo Chavez’s death means for oil prices,” said IHS Vice Chair Daniel Yergin. “But it is certainly true that oil prices are what made Hugo Chavez possible,” as the collapse of oil prices in the late 1990s “gave him the opening to become president” and rising oil prices since 2000 “gave him the financial resources to consolidate power.”
Analysts and attendees at the Houston energy conference said it was unclear what would happen after the country holds an election for a new president. For now, Venezuela’s Vice President Nicolas Maduro is in charge and the country’s army chiefs are reported to be supporting him.
“Without (Chavez’s) charisma and force of character, it is not all clear how his successors will maintain the system he created,” Yergin said
Among the major integrated oil companies, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil could stand to benefit greatly from regime change in Venezuela, if the new leadership allows overseas oil companies to return, analysts said.
The nationalization of Venezuela’s oil industry in 2007 resulted in the exit of those two companies who were unable to reach a new agreement with the state-owned oil company PDVSA.
Too Early to Tell
“It’s too early to tell how the new leader will handle it, but ConocoPhillips could benefit the most,” said Fadel Gheit, senior oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.
ConocoPhillips was the biggest foreign stakeholder in Venezuela at the time of nationalization and could benefit greatly from regaining its former assets, Gheit said, adding: “The book value of assets that were confiscated was $4.5 billion (at the time.) The market value is now $20 to $30 billion… ConocoPhillips could eventually see a net gain of $10 billion.”
But that assumes ConocoPhillips would want to return to the country. Venezuela’s economic problems extend beyond the oil business. “It really much depends on what kind of government will follow Chavez,” said Enrique Sira, IHS senior research director for Latin America.
“The only thing for sure is the fact that the industry is in very poor condition — upstream, downstream, power, and distribution. Electricity has to be rationed. It has a gas deficit that’s been running for years and the country doesn’t produce anywhere near what it could produce,” Sira said. (Read More: Venezuela Vote, Post-Chavez, Next Risk for Oil)
ConocoPhillips CEO Ryan Lance, who spoke Tuesday morning at the Houston energy conference prior to news of Chavez’s death, noted how the global energy landscape has changed dramatically.
“The new landscape is like someone picked up the energy world and tilted it,” he said, as countries with great demand for energy and those with ample supplies has changed. The U.S. is now exporting more of its natural resources than ever before, he said. Those exports include shipping record supplies of US gasoline to Venezuela. Meanwhile Venezuela oil exports to the U.S. are on the decline.
Sira said Venezuela could produce as much as 6 to 9 million barrels of oil a day but now it’s probably less than 2.5 million barrels. He said oil production peaked in the early year at 3.3 million barrels. (Read More: Why Venezuela’s World-Beating Oil Reserves Are ‘Irrelevant’)
Venezuela ranked fourth in oil imports to the U.S. last year at 906,000 barrels per day, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). But crude oil imports from Venezuela have been declining steadily since 2004, when they peaked at 1.3 million barrels per day.
Venezuela’s refineries are also in such poor shape that it has to import gasoline and diesel from the U.S. In December, Venezuela imported a record 197,000 barrels per day of petroleum products from the U.S., according to EIA data.
In the short-run, oil prices may not be greatly impacted by regime change in Venezuela since for now the flow of oil from Venezuela to the U.S. and domestic fuel imports to the South American country are likely to continue current trends, said Houston-based energy analyst Andy Lipow. “We both need each other.”
Dismissed by anti-Chavezites. Regularly shown on Venezuelan telly.
At first, the president’s staff treated the filmmakers with suspicion and made filming difficult. After numerous delays, Bartley and Ó Briain finally got through to Chávez. They calculated that they needed to “press the right buttons” to gain his support, so they presented him with an old edition of the memoirs of [Cork-born] Daniel Florence O’Leary, who had fought alongside Simón Bolívar. Inside, they had written a quote from the Irish socialist playwright Seán O’Casey. Slowly, Bartley and Ó Briain gained their subjects’ trust, “dissolving any self-consciousness as a result of their cameras”.
Watch the full documentary here:
Vaya con Dios, Hugo Chàvez, mi Amigo
By Greg Palast
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
For BBC Television, Palast met several times with Hugo Chàvez, who passed away today.
As a purgative for the crappola fed to Americans about Chavez, my foundation, The Palast Investigative Fund, is offering the film, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, as a FREE download. Based on my several meetings with Chavez, his kidnappers and his would-be assassins, filmed for BBC Television.
Reverend Pat Robertson said,
“Hugo Chavez thinks we’re trying to assassinate him. I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it.”
It was 2005 and Robertson was channeling the frustration of George Bush’s State Department. Despite Bush’s providing intelligence, funds and even a note of congratulations to the crew who kidnapped Chavez (we’ll get there), Hugo remained in office, reelected and wildly popular.
But why the Bush regime’s hate, hate, HATE of the President of Venezuela?
Reverend Pat wasn’t coy about the answer: It’s the oil.
“This is a dangerous enemy to our South controlling a huge pool of oil.”
A really BIG pool of oil. Indeed, according to Guy Caruso, former chief of oil intelligence for the CIA, Venezuela hold a recoverable reserve of 1.36 trillion barrels, that is, a whole lot more than Saudi Arabia.
If we didn’t kill Chavez, we’d have to do an “Iraq” on his nation. So the Reverend suggests,
“We don’t need another $200 billion war….It’s a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.”
Chavez himself told me he was stunned by Bush’s attacks: Chavez had been quite chummy with Bush Senior and with Bill Clinton.
So what made Chavez suddenly “a dangerous enemy”? Here’s the answer you won’t find in The New York Times:
Just after Bush’s inauguration in 2001, Chavez’ congress voted in a new “Law of Hydrocarbons.” Henceforth, Exxon, British Petroleum, Shell Oil and Chevron would get to keep 70% of the sales revenues from the crude they sucked out of Venezuela. Not bad, considering the price of oil was rising toward $100 a barrel.
But to the oil companies, which had bitch-slapped Venezeula’s prior government into giving them 84% of the sales price, a cut to 70% was “no bueno.” Worse, Venezuela had been charging a joke of a royalty – just one percent – on “heavy” crude from the Orinoco Basin. Chavez told Exxon and friends they’d now have to pay 16.6%.
Clearly, Chavez had to be taught a lesson about the etiquette of dealings with Big Oil.
On April 11, 2002, President Chavez was kidnapped at gunpoint and flown to an island prison in the Caribbean Sea. On April 12, Pedro Carmona, a business partner of the US oil companies and president of the nation’s Chamber of Commerce, declared himself President of Venezuela – giving a whole new meaning to the term, “corporate takeover.”
U.S. Ambassador Charles Shapiro immediately rushed down from his hilltop embassy to have his picture taken grinning with the self-proclaimed “President” and the leaders of the coup d’état.
Bush’s White House spokesman admitted that Chavez was, “democratically elected,” but, he added, “Legitimacy is something that is conferred not by just the majority of voters.” I see.
With an armed and angry citizenry marching on the Presidential Palace in Caracas ready to string up the coup plotters, Carmona, the Pretend President from Exxon returned his captive Chavez back to his desk within 48 hours. (How? Get The Assassination of Hugo Chavez, the film, expanding on my reports for BBC Television. You can download it for free for the next few days.)
Chavez had provoked the coup not just by clawing back some of the bloated royalties of the oil companies. It’s what he did with that oil money that drove Venezuela’s One Percent to violence.
In Caracas, I ran into the reporter for a TV station whose owner is generally credited with plotting the coup against the president. While doing a publicity photo shoot, leaning back against a tree, showing her wide-open legs nearly up to where they met, the reporter pointed down the hill to the “ranchos,” the slums above Caracas, where shacks, once made of cardboard and tin, where quickly transforming into homes of cinder blocks and cement.
“He [Chavez] gives them bread and bricks, so they vote for him, of course.” She was disgusted by “them,” the 80% of Venezuelans who are negro e indio (Black and Indian)—and poor. Chavez, himself negro e indio, had, for the first time in Venezuela’s history, shifted the oil wealth from the privileged class that called themselves “Spanish,” to the dark-skinned masses.
While trolling around the poor housing blocks of Caracas, I ran into a local, Arturo Quiran, a merchant seaman and no big fan of Chavez. But over a beer at his kitchen table, he told me,
“Fifteen years ago under [then-President] Carlos Andrés Pérez, there was a lot of oil money in Venezuela. The ‘oil boom’ we called it. Here in Venezuela there was a lot of money, but we didn’t see it.”
But then came Hugo Chavez, and now the poor in his neighborhood, he said, “get medical attention, free operations, x-rays, medicines; education also. People who never knew how to write now know how to sign their own papers.”
Chavez’ Robin Hood thing, shifting oil money from the rich to the poor, would have been grudgingly tolerated by the US. But Chavez, who told me, “We are no longer an oil colony,” went further…too much further, in the eyes of the American corporate elite.
Venezuela had landless citizens by the millions – and unused land by the millions of acres tied up, untilled, on which a tiny elite of plantation owners squatted. Chavez’ congress passed in a law in 2001 requiring untilled land to be sold to the landless. It was a program long promised by Venezuela’s politicians at the urging of John F. Kennedy as part of his “Alliance for Progress.”
Plantation owner Heinz Corporation didn’t like that one bit. In retaliation, Heinz closed its ketchup plant in the state of Maturin and fired all the workers. Chavez seized Heinz’ plant and put the workers back on the job. Chavez didn’t realize that he’d just squeezed the tomatoes of America’s powerful Heinz family and Mrs. Heinz’ husband, Senator John Kerry, now U.S. Secretary of State.
Or, knowing Chavez as I do, he didn’t give a damn.
Chavez could survive the ketchup coup, the Exxon “presidency,” even his taking back a piece of the windfall of oil company profits, but he dangerously tried the patience of America’s least forgiving billionaires: The Koch Brothers.
How? Well, that’s another story for another day. [Watch this space. Or read about it in the book, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits. Go to BallotBandits.org).
Elected presidents who annoy Big Oil have ended up in exile—or coffins: Mossadegh of Iran after he nationalized BP’s fields (1953), Elchibey, President of Azerbaijan, after he refused demands of BP for his Caspian fields (1993), President Alfredo Palacio of Ecuador after he terminated Occidental’s drilling concession (2005).
“It’s a chess game, Mr. Palast,” Chavez told me. He was showing me a very long, and very sharp sword once owned by Simon Bolivar, the Great Liberator. “And I am,” Chavez said, “a very good chess player.”
In the film The Seventh Seal, a medieval knight bets his life on a game of chess with the Grim Reaper. Death cheats, of course, and takes the knight. No mortal can indefinitely outplay Death who, this week, Chavez must know, will checkmate the new Bolivar of Venezuela.
But in one last move, the Bolivarian grandmaster played a brilliant endgame, naming Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, as good and decent a man as they come, as heir to the fight for those in the “ranchos.” The One Percent of Venezuela, planning on Chavez’s death to return them the power and riches they couldn’t win in an election, are livid with the choice of Maduro.
Chavez sent Maduro to meet me in my downtown New York office back in 2004. In our run-down detective digs on Second Avenue, Maduro and I traded information on assassination plots and oil policy.
Even then, Chavez was carefully preparing for the day when Venezuela’s negros e indios would lose their king—but still stay in the game.
Class war on a chessboard. Even in death, I wouldn’t bet against Hugo Chavez.
The emails also leave the reader in no doubt about whom these people are helping the Venezuelan right-wing opposition: “to answer your question, the US networks are definitely involved. I cannot confirm for you if that specific gentleman is involved, but the usual establishments are”.
Edited from a piece by Paul Dobson, writing in a personal capacity, Venezuela, Feb 2013
This week Wikileaks published over 40,000 secret documents regarding Venezuela, which show the clear hand of the US in efforts to topple the progressive government of the popular and democratically elected leader Hugo Chavez.
The documents, which date from July 2004 to December 2011 and which were published through Wikileaks twitter account @wikileaks and are now available on Wikileaks Global Intelligence Files online, are based on emails taken from the private US-based intelligence company, Stratfor.
This company claims to provide analysis for multinational corporations looking to invest in Venezuela, and uses a number of local sources to develop their reports. However, their emails prove that their motives and objectives are far from independent, and they are working as an intelligence and strategy agency for those looking to develop suitable political conditions for both economic exploitation and intervention in the country.
Wikileaks describes Stratfor as “a company that fronts as an intelligence publisher, but provides confidential intelligence services to large corporations, such as Bhopal’s Dow Chemical Co., Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and government agencies, including the US Department of Homeland Security, the US Marines and the US Defense Intelligence Agency”.
“The emails”, Wikileaks goes on to explain, “show Stratfor’s web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods”.
The leaked emails cover a range of issues, but concentrate on the energy sector, especially petrochemicals and oil; political change and the state of the right-wing forces within Venezuela; and the state of the military and armed forces. They also touch on Venezuela’s relations with Cuba, China, Russia, and Iran, as well as providing bleak projections of the economy and future of the financial sector.
The firm’s emails are listed with the addresses of the sender and receiver, as well as mentioning, amongst other things, the reliability of the source from which they take the information. One email, which exposes the political requisites for reliability, according to Stratfor, uses a source described as a “Venezuelan economist in Caracas” who is described as having “source reliability: B (solidly anti-Chavez)”.
The emails mention meetings with, and biographies of, various prominent Venezuelan right-wing opposition leaders, such as Antonio Ledezma (Mayor of Caracas), Henrique Capriles (the Presidential candidate defeated by Hugo Chavez last year) and Leopoldo Lopez, as well as right wing media tycoon Rafael Poleo: “I spoke to Rafael Poleo [a very prominent Venezuelan
political analyst] a couple of days ago” reports one source. Such naming’s complete the link between right-wing anti-Chavez activities in Venezuela and US/external ambitions in the country.
The emails to and from the Stratfor staff mention various political events during the period, but focus on the student protests of 2009-2010 when right-wing student based opposition sectors manipulated for political ends the power cuts bought about by the worst drought in 100 years which left the hydro-based energy system completely dried up. They also address the
RCTV protests following the rejection of the application to renew the license of the right wing TV channel after they backed the 2002 coup d’état and publically called for the assignation of elected President Chavez.
The emails make frequent reference to a Serbia-based right wing policy group called CANVAS (Center for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies).Here, there are numerous Word documents sent amongst the emails, many of which are classed as “not for publication” and which detail the steps recommended to enact a “revolution” which would see Hugo Chavez thrown out of power.
One is indeed referred to as “a how-to guide for revolution”. They go on to class Venezuelan people as “retarded” and who “talk out of their ass”. The country is, according to CANVAS, “absolutely a joke”.
CANVAS explains clearly their recommended strategy for toppling governments: “when somebody asks us for help, as in Vene case, we usually ask them the question ‘and how would you do it’. That means that the first thing is to create a situational analysis (the word doc I sent you) and after that comes “Mission Statement” (still left to be done) and then “Operational Concept”, which is the plan for campaign” explain CANVAS to Stratfor. “For this case we have three campaigns: unification of opposition, campaign for September elections and parallel with that a “get out and vote” campaign”.
Referring to destabilisation plans, CANVAS go on to state that “we only give them the tools to use”.
Making reference to the opposition alliance of parties, they further state that “in Venezuela’s case, because of the complete disaster that the place is, because of suspicion between opposition groups and disorganization, we have to do the initial analysis. Whether they go on to next steps really depends on them, in other words depends on whether they will become aware that because of a lack of UNITY they can lose the race before it has started”.
“This year we are definitely ramping up activity in Venezuela” they write. Referring to the 2010 Parliamentary elections, the explain that “they have elections in September and we are in close connection with activists from there and people trying to help them (please keep this to yourself for now, no publication). The first phase of our preparation is under way”.
The emails also leave the reader in no doubt about whom these people are helping the Venezuelan right-wing opposition: “to answer your question, the US networks are definitely involved. I cannot confirm for you if that specific gentleman is involved, but the usual establishments are”.
Other emails contains various attached files which provide rundowns of the exact status of the Venezuelan army, air force and navy, including numbers, equipment, and expertise.
“(We) will be sending along more info soon on the whole rundown of how Chavez has revamped the military/security apparatus over the past several years” states the sender. “It’s all scribbled on paper right now from my notes, but gotta say, I’m quite impressed with ‘ol Hugo”.
The fully detailed documents explain that “the army’s reform has stretched beyond the procurement of new assault and sniper rifles and now comprises of a modernized doctrine too. New concepts include asymmetric warfare and reliance on the country’s communication and supply infrastructure as well as popular support to resist a large scale US invasion”.
Rigoberta Menchú. (Photo/ skylightpictures)
Menchú, and other 20 “wise men” are gathered in Caracas since Thursday, to work on helping Chavez’s health improve by performing Mayan healing ceremonies.
“I am absolutely positive President Hugo Chavez received cosmic energy because our medicine comes from the deepest places of Mother Earth,” Menchú said during an official event, reported AFP.
According to the news agency, the 1992 Peace Nobel Prize met with Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro and other members of the cabinet.
Menchú said she thought that Hugo Chavez’s energy is “extraordinarily strong” and this will lead him to overcome small and large obstacles in his way.
Alluding to the cancer he is being treated for, Menchú said Chavez just needs to regenerate his body tissue in order to regain his health, reported AFP.
“This is not something folkloric. We focus our energies from the wisdom of our Mayan ancestors,” Menchú said, before asking everyone to get rid of all pessimistic thoughts surrounding the health of Hugo Chavez, reported AFP news agency.
Mayan healing ceremonies are full of sophisticated rituals dedicated to Mother Earth, Dr. Amir Farid Isahak told The Star Online.
“Their traditional medicine is similarly wholly dependent on the healing powers provided by the earth – its soil, water, plants and creatures. Most of their remedies come from the jungle,” he said.
“Mayan traditional medicine is actually very sophisticated. Mayan traditional healers try to harmonise their lives and their patients’ lives with Mother Earth. Mayan traditional healing is holistic healing, with full awareness that the body, mind, emotions, spirit and environment are all interconnected. Their healers know that healing occurs only when there is balance and harmony in the patient’s life. They also heal with love from their hearts.”
Updates on Hugo Chavez’s health
According to the Associated Press, Hugo Chavez is currently being treated at the Dr. Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Caracas.
“The breathing insufficiency that emerged post-operation persists, and the tendency has not been favorable so it is still being treated,” said Information Minister Ernesto Villegas on Thursday during a televised statement. Chavez is reported to be breathing through a tracheal cannula and unable to talk.
Menchú said, ”[Chavez’s] words, health, dreams, wishes will go on through all frontiers – regardless if he’s able to talk or not.”
The information on Chavez’s health status is the first one to be released to the public since the President returned to Venezuela, after a long stay in Cuba, where he was being reportedly treated for an unspecified type of cancer.
Hugo Chavez, who was recently re-elected for six more years and has been in office for 14, has not spoken publicly since December 11, and according to Venezuelan officials, besides receiving care for the respiratory infection, he is also undergoing treatment for his cancer. The type of treatment is said to be “complex” but has not been specified.
Rigoberta Menchú Tum (born 9 January 1959) is an indigenous Guatemalan woman, of the K’iche’ ethnic group. Menchú has dedicated her life to publicizing the plight of Guatemala’s indigenous peoples during and after the Guatemalan Civil War (1960–1996), and to promoting indigenous rights in the country. She received the 1992 Nobel Peace Prize and Prince of Asturias Award in 1998. She is the subject of the testimonial biography I, Rigoberta Menchú (1983) and the author of the autobiographical work, Crossing Borders.
Menchú is a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. She has also become a figure in indigenous political parties and ran for President of Guatemala in 2007 and 2011.
As Venezuela Prays for its Beloved Leader, Vultures Circle, Eager for Death and Profits
By Ruth Hull
Very few leaders, anywhere, have enjoyed the kind of love and popular support Hugo Chavez receives from the people of Venezuela. Outside of George Washington and Franklin Delano Roosevelt, no American President has enjoyed the popularity of Hugo Chavez, who has won elections by margins American Presidents only dream of receiving.
Hugo Chavez and the people of Venezuela have a common enemy: vultures in the form of rich corporate opponents. These vultures were there before Chavez took office. The people can remember when the corporate thieves looted the country’s resources and robbed the people into poverty. Now, these opponents are taking advantage of Chavez’s weakened condition following surgery and are spreading false rumors of death, eager to undo the people’s vote of 2012, a vote that clearly showed that the people of Venezuela want no part of the opposition’s form of government ever again. With Chavez in the hospital, these vultures are trying to frighten the people and stress out the ailing leader in the hopes that he will die or that the false rumors will manifest in reality. The opposition believes a new election will allow them to rip away the people’s property and resources for their own agenda. It is hard enough to recover from surgery without the strain of knowing that people you love will suffer greatly if you don’t recover fast enough. The opposition’s ruthless misconduct could actually be endangering Hugo Chavez’s very life. Without conscience, the opposition awaits death as it plans the demise of the people’s government, their fortunes and their resources.
Who is Hugo Chavez, this great President who has won the hearts of the Venezuelan people, young and old?
In 1999, when Hugo Chavez took office, the country was suffering from extreme poverty. Infant mortality was high. The bulk of the people were poverty stricken and had very little. Now, the Gross National Product has increased by about 250%. Chavez has cut the poverty rate by over 60%. The infant mortality rate has been almost cut in half.
Much of the reason for the pre-Chavez poverty was that rich oil giants were savaging the resources and giving nothing back to the people. Chavez ended the looting and gave the people a percentage of the profits obtained from the people’s own resources. International corporations had acquired unused property that was sitting vacant while people went homeless. (Sound familiar?) Chavez gave the unused business property back to the people. He assisted the people in cultivating their own resourses, growing their own food and in getting the medical attention they needed. He opened up medical centers for the people to be treated, raising the longevity of the people of Venezuela. While longevity is leveling off in the United States, it has dramatically increased since Hugo Chavez took office.
Chavez has treated the people like his brothers and sisters, celebrating with them at all possible opportunities, reading to their children, and making the interests of the people the key factor in setting government policies. Their suffering has been his suffering and their joys, his joys.
Americans looking at the Chavez government wonder where we went wrong and why our leaders don’t listen to us the way Chavez listens to his people. As Chavez lies in his hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery, the people of his country pray for him as they would for a father or a brother or sister.
It hasn’t been an easy road for Hugo Chavez and his people in a world where corporate interests are treated as paramount to those of the people. Greedy oil executives, opposing Chavez’s reforms, had their chauffeurs drive them to formal protests as citizens watched stunned at the ridiculous site of rich men marching around with signs disparaging the poor and downtrodden.
Despite interference from the World Trade Organization (responsible for destroying the standard of living in countries around the world that have been affiliated with that organization), Chavez stood up against free trade and against the WTO. He put his people first, ahead of corporations and ahead of greed. He received death threats. There were frequent attempts on his life orchestrated by foreign powers.
In 2002, Hugo Chavez was kidnapped by powerful foreign interests (as in people associated with George W. Bush). One of those connected to the kidnapping was Henrique Capriles, the man who was soundly defeated by the people of Venezuela in the 2012 re-election of Hugo Chavez. Hugo Chavez was taken to an island and only released after the people took to the streets and refused to settle for anything less than the return of their beloved leader.
Greg Palast has said, “Fear of Chavez is Fear of Democracy.” He is correct. In that article, he compared Hugo Chavez to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR is the leader attributed with pulling America out of the great depression. We currently have no leader who is willing to do what it takes to pull America out of its current depression. But Hugo Chavez has been there for the American people when George W. Bush and Barack Obama have fallen short and let the people down. When Hurricane Katrina hit, George W. Bush was AWOL (just like in the Alabama National Guard). But Hugo Chavez decided to fill in for Bush and was the first world leader to offer aid to the people of New Orleans. In recent winters, Barack Obama has been content to let the people in the colder regions of the United States freeze to death. Hugo Chavez doesn’t want Americans to die from neglect and has provided heating oil to Americans to assist with the cold winters.
Hugo Chavez has been a guiding light for the world, showing us that there can be leaders who put people first. He has shown the world that the people are more important than corporate greed. He has shown that the government should serve the people and not vice versa.
When Fukushima showed the dangers of nuclear power and America’s EPA hid the truth about the extensive fallout in the United States, it was Hugo Chavez who cared enough about the safety of his own people to tell them the truth and to freeze all nuclear projects in Venezuela. In contrast, our own President Barack Obama pushed for the building of new Fukushima-style reactors in the United States and temporarily fled our country with his family for South America when Fukushima’s plume first hit the United States. Is it any wonder that Hugo Chavez has a much higher popularity rating in his country than Barack Obama has in ours?
While criticizing the inaccurate election process in the United States, Jimmy Carter praised the election process in Venezuela.
“As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we’ve monitored, I would say the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world,” Mr. Carter said, noting the Carter Center’s extensive work monitoring elections around the globe.
So while the people of Venezuela pray for the recovery of their friend, their brother, their example and their leader, the hateful forces of the opposition are intentionally and maliciously spreading false rumors and endangering Chavez’s life by pressuring him to return for a symbolic inauguration before he can fully recover. If the stress or pressure of any of this causes any further complications to the health of Venezuela’s beloved leader, the opposition, including Henrique Capriles, Julio Borges and Tomas Guanipa, can expect to be held accountable in the eyes of the People of Venezuela and the world.
Venezuela’s People’s National Assembly has united behind Hugo Chavez in selecting his friend and ally Diosdado Cabello as its Assembly leader. Cabello and Vice President Nicolas Maduro (Chavez’s choice for his successor) are working together to maintain Chavez’s government and his reforms until he can rejoin his revolution.
Under the Venezuelan Constitution, as shown and read by Vice President Maduro, the Venezuelan Supreme Court can swear in President Chavez at a later date and a different location than where and when they had intended the Inauguration. This flexibility will likely remove some of the pressure interfering with his recovery. Stress is never good when a person is fighting not just for his health but for the protection of his people.
On Thursday, January 10th, 2013, the People of Venezuela will be rallying in support of President Chavez, sending him a clear message that they are with him, eagerly awaiting his return. People around the world will be joining them in spirit and prayer. The world needs more heroes and it can’t afford to lose the few leaders who actually care. Viva Chavez.
The author is the chairman of a liberal Democratic organization that is working to move the country towards its true base, the people. She has organized major human rights events and worked with some of the most liberal leaders in America. Her career has included work as a criminal defense attorney, a licensed private investigator, an educator and a writer.