Julie Webb-Pullman reports

Chavez, the sword of Bolivar

Chavez and babies2

The death of Hugo Chavez yesterday afternoon, like the death of any great man, will be mourned by millions, but the achievements of his life will celebrated, felt by, and appreciated by billions, both now and in the centuries to come.

Guided by a huge heart and an even greater sense of social justice, and following the tradition of his hero and inspiration Simon Bolivar, Hugo Chavez transformed his country from a mouldering puppet of the empire into a vibrant, literate, healthy and independent truly-democratic nation, and his continent into a progressive example of the potential of international co-operation based on solidarity, respect and mutual support.

Turning on its head the divide-and-rule strategy of imperial capitalism, and its focus on individual gain at the expense of the majority, Chavez used his charisma and charm, his intelligence and skill to convince and influence his people and his neighbours to work together for the benefit of the masses, both at home and abroad, under the catch-cry of “Socialism for the 21st Century.”

The Venezuela of today is a testament to the intelligence, commitment and sacrifices of both Chavez and his compatriots. Poverty was halved, illiteracy eliminated, health care provided to the poor, and community councils established that have bettered the lives of millions who had never previously benefited from the nation’s considerable oil wealth, until then siphoned off by the country’s elite and US interests.

Following the death of Chavez, the vultures of the empire are hovering above this fledgling socialist nation waiting for their chance to swoop. They will have a long wait, and a fight like no another if and when they do.

“We are realists – we dream the impossible,” said Che Guevara. Chavez’ greatest achievement has been to transform those dreams into reality – and to inspire the same in his followers.

Raised by his grandmother in the savannah, he once said:

“A man from the plains, from these great open spaces …tends not to see barriers. You don’t see barriers from childhood on. What you see is the horizon.”

His nation, too, has its eyes set on the horizon – and the shadow of the vultures cannot obscure what they see there.

Alerta! Alerta! Alerta que camina! La espada de Bolivar por America Latina!*

*Watch out! Watch out! Watch out what’s coming! The sword of Bolivar for America Latina!

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