Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Remembering Hugo Chavez (1954-2013)

"By the time I was 21 or 22, I made myself a man of the left."
Early yesterday, the world was informed of the untimely death of their beloved Venezuelan President, freedom fighter, and military leader, Hugo Rafael Chavez. Chavez has fought many battles throughout his lifetime, namely his battle with political corruption and his final two year battle with cancer. It was in his younger years, mainly through literature, that Chávez began to have his doubts about the army and their methods in using torture. At the same time, he was becoming increasingly critical of the corruption in both the army and in the civilian government, coming to believe that despite the wealth being produced by the country's oil reserves, Venezuela's poor masses were not receiving their share, something he felt to be inherently un-democratic. In doing so, he began to sympathise with the Red Flag Party (do your research) and their cause, if not their violent methods. And so, in 1977, he founded a revolutionary movement within his military career in the hope that he could one day introduce a leftist government to Venezuela: the Venezuelan People's Liberation Army (ELPV). Five years after his creation of the ELPV, Chávez went on to form a new secretive cell within the military, the Bolivarian Revolutionary Army-200 (EBR-200), later redesignated the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200).

 He would go on to organize (and unfortunately lose) Operation Zamora (1992) of which Chavez and a small group of rebels attempted to intercept and take custody of then President Carlos Andres Perez, the candidate of the centrist Democratic Action Party, who was elected President after promising to oppose the United States government's Washington Consensus and financial policies recommended by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Nevertheless, he did neither once he got into office, following instead the neoliberal economic policies supported by the United States and the IMF. He dramatically cut spending, and put prominent men in governmental posts. A debate soon developed in the Bolivarian movement as to whether it should try to take power in elections or whether it should instead continue to believe that military action was the only effective way of bringing about political change. Chávez was a keen proponent of the latter view, believing that the oligarchy would never allow him and his supporters to win an election, whilst Francisco Arias Cárdenas instead insisted that they take part in the representative democratic process. Cárdenas himself proved his point when, after joining the Radical Cause socialist party, he won the December 1995 election to become governor of the oil-rich Zulia State.

Subsequently changing his opinion on the issue, Chávez and his supporters in the Bolivarian movement decided to found their own political party, the Fifth Republic Movement (MVR) in July 1997 in order to support Chávez's candidature in the Venezuelan presidential election of 1998. And in that year, Hugo Chavez found himself the victor and served the Venezuelan people for 14 years, being reelected once again in January of this year, giving his nation constitutional reform, resistance against the CD and it's "democratic" opposition, and established as Chavez put it, "Socialism of the 21st century". 

Chavez' legacy will live on through his people for what we can only hope will be for all time. A report on Chavez' death on the 'Russian Times' news station speculated the future of Venezuela with a poll which stated "Now that Hugo Chavez has died, Venezuela will..." with the following voting results:

7% - "Be led towards a more moderate stance by Maduro"
16% - "Descend into chaos as a new power struggle emerges"
46% - "Carry on as before, led by Vice President Nicolas Maduro"
31% - "Fall to the US-backed opposition"

Here are some links from the Russian Times website in relation to what's to come for the nation of Venezuela this year:

Chavez's Pal Or US Backed Rich Kid: Who Will Inherit Venezuela?

Venezuelan Elections: It's Either Chavez Or Washington!

This year is going to be a large amount of change and unrest; it's time to strap ourselves in, because we are along for the ride.

Gone But Will Never Forgotten: Hugo Chavez (July 28th, 1954 - -March 5th, 2013)