Published 3/6/2023 3:58 PM | Edited 03/07/2023 16:47
Venezuela had a weekend full of tributes of all kinds for the 10th anniversary of the death of former president Hugo Chávez, who died on March 5, 2013, a victim of cancer. Thousands of Venezuelans took to the streets of Caracas on Sunday (5) and around 200 international leaders from 50 countries were there to celebrate Chávez’s life and side.
Protesters gathered at different points in the Venezuelan capital and marched together to the former military fort located in the peripheral neighborhood 23 de Enero, which has been converted into the mausoleum where the former president’s body is buried.
To this day, the poorest sectors of the country affirm the special connection they came to have with politics after Chávez. In addition to the perception that the revolution did not need to be armed or moved to destruction, but to the construction of new economic logics that gave autonomy to many rural populations.
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This feeling was expressed in an emotional way by trade unionists and social activists when they reaffirmed that the former president was different from all those who preceded him, connecting the people with the revolutionary and sovereign feeling of a free Venezuela through the humble and understanding proximity of the suffering of its people.
A strong enthusiast of integration projects between countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, Chávez began his mandate in 1999 dedicated to this objective, concerned with creating ALBA (Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas), a few years later UNASUR (Union of South Americanas) and soon after CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States).
In Venezuela, Latin American leaders evoked the validity of Commander Hugo Chávez’s thinking, ten years after his physical departure. Throughout the weekend, there were forums, meetings, concerts and debates, as well as a pilgrimage to the 4F Mountain Barracks, where Chavez’s remains rest. The seminars seek to discuss the validity of Hugo Chávez’s thought, with regard to decolonization and socialism in the 21st century.
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The events bring together around 200 international political leaders from 50 countries at the Mountain Barracks to commemorate his life and legacy. President Nicolás Maduro led the meeting with the presidents of Nicaragua and Bolivia (Daniel Ortega and Luis Arce, respectively); the Premier of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves; Dominica’s Roosevelt Skerrit; and former Cuban President Raúl Castro. Also participating were former presidents of Bolivia, Evo Morales; Ecuador, Rafael Correa; and Honduras, Manuel Zelaya.
The speeches reflected the personal anecdotes of when they met the commander and the power that his ideas brought to the entire continent. President Nicolás Maduro, appointed by Chavez to continue his legacy, pointed to the aggressions, threats, criminal sanctions, which tried to impose a colonial model against Venezuela. However, Venezuela decided for the future of sovereignty and free homeland instead, according to him.
“Ten years later and there was no absence, there was a permanent presence of his ideal and the sworn commitment to advance in the construction of an independent, sovereign and socialist homeland”, declared Maduro, who received recognition from part of his peers present for “resisting” US economic sanctions.
Read also: Hugo Chávez, the man who changed the history of Venezuela
What stood out in the speeches was the intention that Latin Americans began to look to the south and to the pride of being Latin Americans, after the economic and cultural domination that prevailed until the 1990s. series of cultural changes on the continent.
The commander of the Cuban Revolution, Raul Castro pointed out the grandeur of Hugo Chavez’s significance for the continent and for the peoples of the world. “His ideas of him shook and impacted the contemporary history of Our America. We were marked by Chávez. We have been witnesses of the aggressions and the economic war to overthrow the Bolivarian process. We have also been witnesses, and witnessed with pride, that the Venezuelan people have known how to defend their conquests and not defraud Chavez”, said the Cuban leader.
“We were witnesses of Maduro’s leadership to continue Chávez’s work, and his capacity to resist and win. In that battle, Cuba was and will be on the side of its people, Nicolás. This is our tribute to Chávez, to accompany him and follow him always”, said Castro in a brief speech.
Read also: Venezuelans take to the streets to defend the legacy of Hugo Chávez
The president of Bolivia, Luis Arce, said that Chávez’s integrationist thinking is the answer to a globalization that today is making water in the face of the reality of neoprotectionism in several countries. “It is the obligation of all revolutionaries to continue building this integrationist thinking and this Great Homeland. It’s the best we can do to remember Chavez’s legacy,” he said.
Former Bolivian President Evo Morales explained that the best way to honor Chávez was to follow this anti-imperialist line, as a great catalyst for Latin American integration.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega stated that Chavez is of great value for what he means by summarizing the struggles that have broken out among the Venezuelan people since the arrival of the first invaders. “And he got all this for the electoral victory!”.
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The Landless Movement, in São Paulo, also organized tributes to Commander Hugo Chavez. The Florestan Fernandes School hosted an exciting event, in a reaffirmation of the movement’s commitment to its legacy. In 2022, Maduro recognized the work of the MST in the production of healthy foods and expressed interest in replicating the experience in Venezuela.
In Buenos Aires, a photographic exhibition at the Venezuelan Embassy also brought together left-wing leaders in Argentina to salute Chavez’s influence on local struggles, in confluence with the legacy of the Kirshners.
The Iran and Venezuela cultural fair in caracas cannot fail to address Chavez’s legacy and influence for Iran’s patriotic resistance against US aggression. The sanctions of the Americans and their allies with the aim of changing the regime in Caracas and Tehran favored an economic, strategic and cultural rapprochement between the countries. With the fair, the debate on the domination and violence provoked by the US in the Middle East, as well as in Latin America, are illustrated for the Venezuelan people who attend it.
Also read: Constituent Assembly consolidates Chávez project, says diplomat