Venezuela: Adiós Presidente

By Clifton Ross
March 8th 2013 – Upside Down World

Mourners pay their respects to Hugo Chávez (Efrain Gonzalez / Prensa Miraflores)
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.
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The Life and Legacy of Hugo Chávez

By Gregory Wilpert
March 7th 2013 – The Real News

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.
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