President Hugo Chavez has Died

By Tamara Pearson
March 05, 2013 –

President Hugo ChavezAfter two years of battling cancer, President Hugo Chavez has died today at 4.25 pm.

Vice-president Nicolas Maduro made the announcement on public television shortly after, speaking from the Military Hospital in Caracas, where Chavez was being treated.

Military and Bolivarian police patrols have been sent out into the street to protect the people and maintain the peace. For now, things are calm here, with some people celebrating by honking their car horns, and many others quietly mourning in their homes. Around the country mourners are also gathering in the main plazas to rally, and in some cases, to pray.

Maduro made the announcement just a few hours after addressing the nation for an hour, accusing the opposition of taking advantage of the current situation to cause destabilisation.

“Those who die for life, can’t be called dead,” Maduro concluded.

In Caracas, thousands of people have gathered in Plaza Bolivar and are said to be heading to the Miraflores Palace. Those gathered are shouting that “Chavez lives, the struggle continues,” “the people united will never be defeated,” as well as swearing that the Venezuelan bourgeoisie “will never return” to the Miraflores Palace.

Chavez supporters are also gathering in main squares across the country to rally together and mourn the death of their president.

Describing the scene in Caracas, Andromaco Martinez stated that he was on the metro when he found out about the president’s death, “people began running everywhere”.

In Plaza Bolivar, “no-one is crying or praying,” he said, emphasising that the Venezuelan people would defiantly defend the revolution.

“The struggle has already been ignited,” he added.

In Merida state, people gathered in their local plazas. In the Plaza Bolivar, hundreds rallied, despite the dark and phone services not working well, with most people hugging and crying.

Security measures are being put in place around the country, and government officials have urged the people to remain peaceful and not believe the rumours of ransacking.

The government has declared 7 days of mourning, and schools will be closed until Monday. There will be an official ceremony for Chavez on Friday.


12 thoughts on “President Hugo Chavez has Died”

  1. Mr. Chavez sought to revive the Simone Bolivar idea of a united South America. In the process he became good friends with Fidel Castro. The two formed a united front against American imperialism, with Chavez taking the lead and making a mockery of U.S. leaders. At the lowest he call Bush the devil at the United Nations, Pat Robinson felt that U.S. special forces should take out Chavez and maybe they did Russian poison style but we may never know. Chavez was a complex leader with a complex vision… It remains to see who would fill his shoes. RIP Mr. Chavez….

  2. What You Won’t Hear About Hugo Chavez in the Establishment Press

    by Rania Khalek on March 5, 2013

    The US establishment loves to hate on Hugo Chavez for his economic policies that favor the poor. Don’t get me wrong, Chavez was not perfect. But he overcame huge obstacles to reduce poverty in Venezuela. That’s no easy feat in Latin America as Naomi Klein demonstrates in the first half of “The Shock Doctrine”.

    Following news of Chavez’s death this afternoon, the mainstream media wasted no time trashing him. I’ve already lost track of the number of times he’s been called a dictator, conspiracy theorist, tyrant and anti-American, among other things. In light of this slanderous coverage, here are aspects of Chavez’s leadership that you likely won’t hear in the mainstream press:

  3. Tyehimba, if you have never lived in Venezuela, you are just echoing what you have read in the government-controlled media in Venezuela. You said that he reduced poverty in Venezuela, how can you be sure, I lived there for 24 years and let me tell you that the place just looks run down and pathetic, there are 450 homicides in Caracas since the beginning of the year, does it sound like poverty eradicated?… the man probably had good intentions (Chavez) but he did a really poor job

  4. Chávez Haters Not “Limited by Truth, Reality or Common Sense”

    By Dan Beeton – CEPR,
    February 28th 2013 –

    A new op-ed in the Guardian by Ricardo Hausmann portrays a dystopian fictional Venezuela, one in which the Venezuelan government has run the economy into the ground despite abundant oil wealth, but yet its charismatic president continues to be re-elected through some sort of sinister trickery.

    Sound familiar? It should: it’s the same tired story repeated in the U.S. and U.K. media almost every day, but in this case Hausmann was apparently given free rein to present his own set of “facts.” It isn’t surprising that Hausmann would write something so divorced from reality; he went to elaborate lengths to invent a conspiracy theory about supposed fraud in Venezuela’s 2004 recall referendum by relying on fake exit polls. An independent panel of statisticians selected by the Carter Center determined that Hausmann and his colleague Roberto Rigobón had in fact found no evidence of fraud. [PDF]

    But let’s get back to Hausmann’s latest Guardian piece, starting with the economy. Hausmann writes, “Since 1999, the year [Chávez] took over the presidency,Venezuela has had the lowest average GDP growth rate and the highest inflation of any Latin American country except Haiti.”

    The source for this “lowest average GDP growth rate” to which Hausmann links is a highly opinionated BBC article which in turn quotes a colleague of Hausmann’s from the Center for International Development at Harvard University who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics. Had Hausmann consulted official government data, or growth numbers for the region from the IMF, he would have found a very different set of facts.

    In fact, Brazil, Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Uruguay, and other countries all had lower average GDP growth than did Venezuela since 1999, according to IMF data.

    Hausmann’s next sentence reads: “[Venezuela] has also seen a fivefold increase in assassinations to arguably the highest murder rate in the world.”

    Why does Hausmann want to “argue” the case for Venezuela having the “highest murder rate” in the world? Because the U.N. keeps track of such figures, and at 91 per hundred thousand, post-coup Honduras’ homicide rate is about twice as high as Venezuela’s; El Salvador’s is also much higher.

    Hausmann then makes the usual claims about Chávez “eliminat[ing] checks and balances” and describes – without providing any evidence – “a very large civilian army of political activists that are handsomely compensated by the state for their party work.” Such distortions of Venezuela’s democracy belittle both the many elections in which voters have overwhelmingly chosen pro-Chávez legislators and state and local officials, and the bottom-up nature of much of the transformative processes occurring in Venezuela. Hausmann then claims that Chávez “dominate[s] the airwaves,” even though Venezuelan state television has a 5.4 percent audience share while more than 94 percent of the TV seen by Venezuelans is not pro-government.

    As Hausmann himself writes, “in choosing your narrative, be creative. Don’t be limited by truth, reality or common sense. …Whenever you fail, blame a conspiracy.” Hausmann has provided an excellent demonstration of the former with his Guardian op-ed, just as his post-recall referendum fantasy stories were a great example of the latter.

  5. Good observation Mamoo. I distinctly remember Pat Robertson calling for the assassination of Hugo Chavez on the 700 Club, a Christian channel TV channel:
    How many attempts have the CIA tried to kill Castro and how many US presidents the said gentleman has outlived. Even the PM of Canada (Trudeau) at the time was being investigated by the CIA for subversive activities.

  6. “It doesn’t matter if a cat is black or white, so long as it catches mice…….Poverty is not socialism. To be rich is glorious.”Deng Xiaoping

    Still wonder , as to why China , and not one of those die hard Socialist fiefdoms,in de Global South, will eventually become the next global economic power? Are you getting dat my T&T, when it come’s to economic power plays? It ain’t matter, de texture of your hair , shape of lips, or if you are from Central , Westmoorings, High end Maraval,Malony via Blmont Gonzales , or Beetham Sea lots, and should we ensure that all dem cats ,get chances to catch mice,ummmmm?
    Seriously folks , de bigger question for Chavez fanatics will be , is Venezuela better off today , than it was ,before Hugo assumed power?Me think not!
    We know of all the global accolishments of Cuba’s Fidel, from Angola , to Mars, but what about the pathetic lives de la people of Cuba? Oh yes, they have the best medical system in the world.
    Fidel is what 90 , and on the day he became incapacitated due to his illness, his 89 year old military brother Raul , was thrust into power.Go figure !
    Sorry , but I hate all nepotistic leaders , be it Fidel, Patrick Manning, Basdeo Panday,or in our most recent case ,Auntie K, with her overpaid traveling companion hermana, Si?
    Let me add for the record- military folks ,are for fighting wars , and killing foreign enemies, not running country’s politically, or as in our situation , granted powers of arrest , to apprehend criminals.
    History is on my side people! Ohhh , sorry,this self serving , bombastic, master of brinkmanship Chavez ,is dead, so I , and more importantly , thousands of desperate Venezualian immigrants , now hiding in T&T , must shed a tear! Are you kidding!

    Don’t grt me wrong folks,let’s congratulate historical figures such as the Chavez, and Castro’s of the world, but we fail as far as serious analystical assessments , if we dismiss their numerous failings.
    For all his phony denouncements, and political rhetorics on ‘Note Americana,’ this undemocratic , coup loving ,military hombre, ensured his country remain a major exporter to Pax Americana, Si? Just saying!

  7. In Death as in Life, Chávez Target of Media Scorn
    His independence, help for Venezuela’s poor will not be forgiven

    By FAIR
    March 06, 2013 –

    Venezuela’s left-wing populist president Hugo Chávez died on Tuesday, March 5, after a two-year battle with cancer. If world leaders were judged by the sheer volume of corporate media vitriol and misinformation about their policies, Chávez would be in a class of his own.

    Shortly after Chávez won his first election in 1998, the U.S. government deemed him a threat to U.S. interests–an image U.S. media eagerly played up. When a coup engineered by Venezuelan business and media elites removed Chávez from power, many leading U.S outlets praised the move (Extra!, 6/02). The New York Times (4/13/02), calling it a “resignation,” declared that “Venezuelan democracy is no longer threatened by a would-be dictator.” The Chicago Tribune (4/14/02) cheered the removal of a leader who had been “praising Osama bin Laden”–an absurdly false charge.

    But that kind of reckless rhetoric was evidently permissible in media discussions about Chávez. Seven years later, CNN (1/15/09) hosted a discussion of Chávez with Democratic strategist Doug Schoen, where he and host John Roberts discussed whether or not Chávez was worse than Osama bin Laden. As Schoen put it, “He’s given Al-Qaeda and Hamas an open invitation to come to Caracas.”

    There were almost no limits to overheated media rhetoric about Chávez. In a single news article, Newsweek (11/2/09) managed to compare him to Mussolini, Hitler and Stalin. (Chávez had built a movie studio, which is the sort of thing dictators apparently do.) ABC (World News, 10/7/12) called him a “fierce enemy of the United States,” the Washington Post (10/16/06) an “autocratic demagogue.” Fox News (12/5/05) said that his government was “really Communism”–despite the fact he was repeatedly returned to office in internationally certified elections (Extra!, 11-12/06) that Jimmy Carter deemed “the best in the world” (Guardian, 10/3/12).

    Apart from the overheated claims about terrorism and his growing military threat to the region (FAIR Blog, 4/1/07), media often tried to make a simpler case: Chávez wasn’t good for Venezuelans. The supposed economic ruin in Venezuela was a staple of the coverage. The Washington Post editorial page (1/5/13) complained of “the economic pain caused by Mr. Chávez,” the man who has “wrecked their once-prosperous country.” And a recent New York Times piece (12/13/12) tallied some of the hassles of daily life, declaring that such

    frustrations are typical in Venezuela, for rich and poor alike, and yet President Hugo Chávez has managed to stay in office for nearly 14 years, winning over a significant majority of the public with his outsize personality, his free-spending of state resources and his ability to convince Venezuelans that the Socialist revolution he envisions will make their lives better.

    Of course, Venezuelans might feel that Chávez already had improved their lives (FAIR Blog, 12/13/12), with poverty cut in half, increased availability of food and healthcare, expanded educational opportunities and a real effort to build grassroots democratic institutions. (For more of this, read Greg Grandin’s piece in the Nation3/5/13.)

    Those facts of Venezuelan life were not entirely unacknowledged by U.S. media. But these policies, reflecting new national priorities about who should benefit from the country’s oil wealth, were treated as an unscrupulous ploy of Chávez’s to curry favor with the poor. As the Washington Post (2/24/13) sneered, Chávez won “unconditional support from the poverty-stricken masses” by “doling out jobs to supporters and showering the poor with gifts.” NPR‘s All Things Considered (3/5/13) told listeners that “millions of Venezuelans loved him because he showered the poor with social programs.”

    Buying the support of your own citizens is one thing; harboring negative feelings about the United States is something else entirely. As CBS Evening News (1/8/13) recently put it, “Chávez has made a career out of bashing the United States.” But one wonders how friendly any U.S. political leaders would be toward a government that had supported their overthrow.

    Though this is often treated as another Chávez conspiracy theory–“A central ideological pillar of Chávez’s rule over 14 years has been to oppose Republican and Democratic administrations in Washington, which he accuses of trying to destabilize his government,” the Washington Post (1/10/13) reported–the record of U.S. support for the coup leaders is clear.

    As a State Department report (FAIR Blog, 1/11/13) acknowledged, various U.S. agencies had “provided training, institution building and other support to individuals and organizations understood to be actively involved in the brief ouster of the Chávez government.” The Bush administration declared its support for the short-lived coup regime, saying Chávez was “responsible for his fate” (Guardian, 4/21/09).

    Of course, as with any country, there are aspects of Chávez’s government that could be criticized. U.S. media attention to Venezuela’s flaws, however, was obviously in service to an official agenda–as documented by FAIR’s study (Extra!, 2/09) of editorials on human rights, which showed Venezuela getting much harsher criticism than the violent repression of the opposition in U.S.-allied Colombia.

    Time-chavez’s home page

    In reporting Chávez’s death, little had changed. “Venezuela Bully Chávez Is Dead,” read the New York Post‘s front page (3/6/13); “Death of a Demogogue” was on Time‘s home page (3/6/13). CNN host Anderson Cooper (3/5/13) declared it was “the death of a world leader who made America see red, as in Fidel Castro red, Venezuela’s socialist president, Hugo Chávez.”

    “The words ‘Venezuelan strongman’ so often preceded his name, and for good reason,” declared NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams (3/5/13); on ABC World News (3/5/13), viewers were told that “many Americans viewed him as a dictator.” That would be especially true if those Americans consumed corporate media.

    The fact that U.S. elite interests are an overarching concern is not exactly hidden. Many reports on Chávez’s passing were quick to note the country’s oil wealth. NBC‘s Williams asserted, “All this matters a lot to the U.S., since Venezuela sits on top of a lot of oil and that’s how this now gets interesting for the United States.” MSNBC‘s Rachel Maddow (3/5/13) concurred: “I mean, Venezuela is a serious country in the world stage. It is sitting on the world’s largest proven oil reserves.”

    And CNN‘s Barbara Starr (3/5/13) reported: “You’re going to see a lot of U.S. businesses keep a very close eye on this transition in Venezuela. They’re going to want to know that their investments are secure and that this is a stable country to invest in.” Those U.S. businesses would seem to include its media corporations.


  8. Little Reaction In Oil Market To Chavez Death
    By Pamela Sampson, The Associated Press, March 05, 2013
    “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.”

  9. The last place on earth I expected filth from Chavez haters because I didn’t expect opponents of Chavez in Trinidad or the Caribbean as a hole.
    80% of the Black & Indigenous population were blow the poverty line, no schools, poor villagers sneaked their children into Trinidad to learn English or for an education as a whole.
    Medicare & clinics were nonexistent Poor folk were shot at just for straying into wealthy white neighborhoods and rounded up like POS City Council would round up stray dogs-& I do mean literally. The barrios were lock-down and is a fly shit in a white Neighborhood the Army& police raided the Barrios not to catch a fruit thief but to make an example they never leave without a few body bags. Jobs were in existent for 80 years and those who worked worked far below Trinidad’s minimum wage.
    Education: Facts and Figures
    • Venezuela spends 7% of GDP on education
    • 7,5 million people currently registered on the
    education missions.
    • Venezuela has the second highest number of
    people enrolled in higher education in Latin
    America at 83% while the average across
    Latin America is 29.6%.
    • Between 1999 and 2008, the number of
    children receiving free lunches in school rose
    from 252,284 to 4,055,135.
    • UNESCO confirms 98% literacy in Venezuela
    • According to Latinobarometro 2008, a
    regional poll, 53% of Venezuelans have
    used the internet at some point in their lives,
    the highest of the 19 countries in the survey
    You armed chair Chavez bashers couldn’t dawn your draws properly of fit a European suit as it should-Immigration in US&EU capitals can sniff you out on the tarmac.
    You look so doltish they sniff and scorn you at the Immigration booth.
    Hugo Chavez given the time of life would have tackled even these habitual discriminatory behavior.

    Serious ignoramuses hated Chavez not knowing this schizophrenia attitude morphed from rich white degenerates who built Florida & Madrid and not Venezuela.
    They partied all week in cocaine liquor on speed boats yacht while the white 2nd “Middle” class were thankful for the status Quo: which is a US visa stable employment and top jobs in the civil services….
    A last reminder;It was Chavez who propose to share oil wells between both POS&Caracas the former White rule Gov’t occasionally sent their navy threatening Trinidad’s (Joint) sovereign claims/resources.

    1. This is a very thought-provoking post Mr. de Verteil and thank you for the statistics that you provided. Personally, I think President Chavez died before his revolutionary ideas could begin to take root and fully transform the socio-economic and political situation in Venezuela.

      With that said, Neal does have a point, Chavez’ vision did have its faults and they are many. However, and this is a key point, his heart was in the right place. The man loved his country wanted what was best for his people. The bombastic rhetoric towards the United States made for good theatre and entertainment, but I also think it served a useful purpose; it demonstrated to his people that he was a strong and intrepid leader, albeit with more than a small measure of hubris and bravado.

      For his defense of the Venezuelan people against the arrant hypocrisy and predation associated with United States-style capitalism, he will forever have my admiration. He may have been flawed in many respects, but when his life examined down to his simplest essence, he was a good man who cared for the people.

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