HUGO Chavez cast a giant shadow over the Western Hemisphere during his relatively short life. Few world leaders can claim to have influenced the course of history and geopolitics the way he did. For more than half-a-century, visionaries formulated and articulated ideas for the creation of a new power centre that resided outside of North America and Europe. Chavez transformed those dreams into reality, however limited, and upon his untimely death he left behind the legacy of a new world order that seems set to redefine Latin America and influence global affairs in the 21st Century. Continue reading ‘Chavez – Catalyst for Change’
Mourners pay their respects to Hugo Chávez (Efrain Gonzalez / Prensa Miraflores)
It may be difficult for North Americans to grasp the loss Venezuelans are feeling over the death of President Hugo Chávez since we have no comparable experience in our entire history. I called a friend in Venezuela today to check in with her and find out how she was doing the day after Chávez’s death. She was obviously shaken. “It’s a blow (golpe) and you feel it everywhere. After all, Chávez is a man we’ve lived with for the past fourteen years.”
Chávez, whatever one may think of him or how his legacy will be judged, was a warm, charismatic, down-to-earth, entertaining, larger-than-life figure, part politician, part entertainer. He was from the llano, the land of the cowboys and that was so much of his appeal. When he looked into the camera on his weekly, Alo Presidente, there was a sense of physical contact with him among viewers. I know my friend Juan seemed to feel Chávez was there with us on those Sunday mornings as he laughed with him and even hummed along when Chávez sang. Continue reading ‘Venezuela: Adiós Presidente’
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, or Comandante Chávez, as he was affectionately known by his supporters and followers, passed away on March 5, at 4:25 p.m. local time, following a 21-month battle against cancer.
When he died, at 58 years of age, he had become one of Venezuela’s and perhaps even the world’s most important contemporary leaders, having launched what he and his movement called the “Bolivarian Revolution,” named after Simón Bolívar, the 19th-century independence hero who had liberated Venezuela and four other countries from Spanish colonial rule. Chávez was a devotee of Simón Bolívar, and his vice president, Nicolás Maduro, recently referred to Chávez as “the new liberator of the 21st century.” Whether this is a fair assessment only history will tell, but what is certain is that Chávez changed the face of Venezuela during his 14 years as president. Continue reading ‘The Life and Legacy of Hugo Chávez’
Chavez invested Venezuela’s oil wealth into social programs including state-run food markets, cash benefits for poor families, free health clinics and education programs. But those gains were meager compared with the spectacular construction projects that oil riches spurred in glittering Middle Eastern cities, including the world’s tallest building in Dubai and plans for branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums in Abu Dhabi.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar signs the Condolence book at the Venezuelan Embassy
From the Office of the Prime Minister
March 06, 2013
On behalf of the Government and people of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, it is with great sadness that I extend deepest condolences to the Government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and to his family on the passing of Comandante Hugo Chávez Frías, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Our prayers accompany them in their time of grief. Continue reading ‘PM extends condolences on the passing of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez’
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez spared no criticism of the climate conference in Copenhagen. At a joint news conference he held with the Bolivian president Evo Morales on Friday afternoon—this was before President Obama announced the accord—Chavez called the proceedings undemocratic and accused world leaders of only seeking a face-saving agreement. He described President Obama as having won the “Nobel war prize” and said the world still smelled of sulfur, referring to his comments about President Bush at the United Nations last year. Well, shortly after the news conference, I caught up with President Chavez for a few minutes. Continue reading ‘Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on How to Tackle Climate Change: “We Must Go from Capitalism to Socialism”’
Researchers at the University of the West of England, UK, have exposed ongoing and systematic bias in the BBC’s news reporting on Venezuela. Dr Lee Salter and Dr Dave Weltman analysed ten years of BBC reports on Venezuela since the first election of Hugo Chavez to the presidency in an ongoing research project, and their findings so far show that the BBC’s reporting falls short of its legal commitment to impartiality, truth and accuracy. Continue reading ‘A Decade of Propaganda? The BBC’s Reporting of Venezuela.’