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Venezuela: Missing Hugo Chávez

Above Photo: Viva Chavez!

Ten years have already passed without Comandante Hugo Chávez and his overwhelming drive to explain to the people what the Revolution to be built is all about. Yes, the Revolution with capital letters, which is not the same as appealing to the reformist or social-democratic shortcuts to which some try to accustom us. Because if there is something that Chávez became clear in the heat of his practice, it is that for any society to grow seriously, develop and generate a dignified life for its people, it is not enough with cold cloths or attitudes of just possibilities, but it is necessary to turn everything upside down and generate a deep transformation. Whatever the cost.

If we think about the comings and goings of the continent since he left for eternity, we would be surprised that all this has happened in such a short time. The neoliberalism that the Supreme Commander confronted with weapons in hand when he tried to overthrow it through two civil-military uprisings in 1992, is still installed in some countries more than in others in our America. This has caused setbacks in economic, political, social, cultural and foreign relations matters after the emergence of new dictatorships such as those of Abdó Benítez, Dina Boluarte, Bukele, Giammatei or Lasso, to lukewarm ones that wield progressive speeches and end up snouting before the IMF or the plundering multinationals.  Among the encouraging novelties, it is worth mentioning the return of Lula, the governance of Lucho Arce and Choquehuanca in Bolivia, Gustabo Petro in Colombia, Xiomara Castro in Honduras and a López Obrador, who in recent times has been saying to the empire what Chávez used to say with more passion. These last experiences contain the positive charge that, in spite of continuing to bet on capitalism, they managed to remove from the board experiences of a highly destructive and devastating government for their respective peoples.

In the face of this panorama, it is good for the memory and collective health to evoke Chávez, who like his mentor Fidel, were gusts of passion and energy, militants of ethics and the audacious courage of those who want to change everything and put their bodies into every initiative they face.

Chavez was forceful when it came to making decisions, especially those that had to do with the interests of his beloved Venezuela. Affectionate and enthusiastic in the defense of the most humble, to whom he dedicated each and every day of his mandate. Procurer of unity to strike all together against the Empire, something he demonstrated not only in domestic politics but also in the doctrine he established at the level of Latin America and the world. Cerebral and with his feet on the ground when it came to open the doors to debate -even with his fiercest enemies- and when it came to formulating ideas that allowed to bring closer positions that were in the antipodes. Such was Hugo Chávez.

Forger of the most powerful weapons to face the onslaught of the Bushes, the Obamas (not to mention what he would be saying to the Trumps or the Biden), those that are not loaded with bullets but with the development of a solid and vital conscience, gathered from the history of struggle of our peoples. He had the lucidity to realize that the time had come to lead the continent towards the Second Independence that we have been denied so much, and that is still pending. He rescued our heroes and heroic deeds, whom he extracted from marble or bronze and turned them into actors of unusual relevance. Bolivar, San Martin, Sucre, Manuelita Saenz, Juana Ramirez, Apacuana, O’Higgins, Guacaipuro, Tupac Amaru and Micaela Bastidas, Simon Rodriguez, Sandino, Evita Peron and of course, Che Guevara. With them in his backpack, he called for the rescue of the Patria Grande from the clawed hands of the brutal North. He denounced the sulfur spilled by Bush on the UN stage and gave him a sovereign kick in the ass, in those glorious days when the FTAA was demolished by a group of presidents who supported him.

Thinking of the children, of the elderly, of the damned of the earth (this feminist and anti-patriarchal Commander introduced the language of gender in politics, as no one had done before), he gave strength to the Missions and made them indispensable in the development of his administration. He avoided ministerial bureaucracies and, as if he were a rabbit that a magician pulls out of the hat, he gave his people the possibility to become fully literate, to obtain free medical attention with Barrio Adentro and Mission Milagro (for free eye surgery), hand in hand with Cuba Solidarity. For the first time in decades (or in centuries), it made it possible for the poorest to have access to Universities. The Missions became the rushing river and the banner of engagement of the great majorities: housing for all, the food Mercal to break the chains of intermediation, the Music Mission, the Women’s Bank, sports practice in the neighborhoods, the Science Mission, or the Che Guevara Mission (of socialist formation), the Negra Hipolita Mission, or that of the Mothers of the Neighborhoods. The days of the year would not be enough to enumerate them, and to all of them the Comandante imprinted his personal impulse, his wisdom and his sleepless hours so that they would become a reality. We remember Chávez Frías, Maisanta’s grandson, a guerrilla fighter, in these short and insufficient lines.

Standard bearer of the Venezuelan workers who during the neo-liberal governments had suffered the repeated denial of their salary demands by the governments of the Fourth Republic, which were based on compromises with the business chambers. From the beginning of his mandate, Chávez aimed at generating a Bolivarian trade union center that would leave aside the bureaucratic management of the old union structure, which was in agreement with the agreement, bureaucratic and intimately related to the bosses of Fedecámaras.

A proclaimed son of Fidel, together with him they shaped a hurricane that swept the continent spreading ideas, strength, wisdom and that particular way of recreating politics without speculations of any kind. To the sound of such a duo, ALBA was born, providing Latin America and the Caribbean with an effective tool to permeate solidarity, back to back. But not only that, he also knew how to show the world that gringos could be spoken to as equals, without hesitation or submission, as had been the case until the Afro-Indo-American nations recovered their self-esteem and got going. That was his first feat, but then he went for more, and helped (with invaluable patience) to build CELAC and UNASUR, bringing everyone together -from right to left- but without the North American tutelage to set the script. Chávez did it, and his footprint was followed by others like him, born from the struggles in Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and so many other places.

Impeccable at the time of speaking to the people with the truth. Cursing the Yankee tutelage, or shaking off the Zionist diplomats, aggressors of occupied Palestine. With a didactic language, he explained to his own people that it was necessary to remain alert against the coup plotters from inside and outside. He did so, recalling his own experience in that fateful 2002 massacre of Puente Llaguno, his kidnapping in La Orchila, the rescue by those who came down from the hills to show him their love and loyalty, the oil coup and his own decision to radicalize himself to the maximum in order not to turn the other cheek to his enemies. In true popular assemblies of almost two million souls, he knew how to give the precise indications so that the militias would begin to occupy a necessary space, but he also valued the meritorious role that the Armed Forces have been playing in the revolutionary process, which under his command rested together with the ordinary Bolivarians. Hugo Chávez has been the fundamental engine of such feats.

Now that his legacy has been picked up by millions around the world, and that his partner in so many struggles, Nicolás Maduro, presides the country with courage and unquestionable loyalty, it is time to redouble our homage to the one who undoubtedly fell fighting, in a “victory or death” patriotism. What else were those days of fighting tooth and nail with that cancer that burned his body but did not make him retreat in his ideological and discursive strength? Who does not remember, without getting a rash, that Caracas afternoon of October 4, 2012, when under a real deluge, the Commander-in-Chief climbed on the stage and before an incredible crowd shouted “Long live the Revolution” and called to make the final effort to obtain the triumph in the upcoming elections. The water hammer falling on his enormous figure could not deter him, nor could the brutality of the pain caused by the cursed disease that took him away from us months later. Drawing strength from his love for that red tide that listened to him ecstatically, waving flags and chanting slogans, Chavez spoke for posterity and proclaimed the triumph against the oligarchy and the Empire. That was his style and practice. And for that reason, let us have no doubt, the empire decided to assassinate him.

Today, as we remember the tenth anniversary of his passing, the figure of the eternal Commander Hugo Chávez and the example he was able to give us, reinforce the need to redouble our solidarity with Bolivarian Venezuela, besieged by the economic war and in a climate of a latent coup by a receding opposition that continues to count on external support. Above all, from the constant U.S. interference. But also, and we cannot remain silent, by enemies that like that Trojan horse, conspire and do much evil from the spheres of internal corruption.

Let us always return to Chávez and his ideas, let us not slacken in the struggle, let us place ourselves in the rebelliousness of the peoples, such as Peru, Ecuador, Haiti, Syria of Bachad al Assar, the anti-imperialist Iran, Lebanon of Hezbolah and always, absolutely always, the insurgent Palestine against the criminal Zionism. Let us not mistake the path, and let us support the denazification and anti-NATO campaign waged by the Russian Federation. Let us not abandon the streets in the face of the siren songs of reformism, let us reinvigorate the need to bring battle to the empire and patriarchal capitalism wherever it tries to infiltrate its ideas of death, let us generate self-organization for self-determination, and self-management as a formula for self-defense. Let us embrace the communes that the Comandante promoted so much.

In this way, we will continue fulfilling Chávez’s legacy, which asks us for not only words but actions as well.

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