It’s hard to believe it has been 8 years since the untimely death of Hugo Chávez. At the time of Chávez’s death, I was still a young student coming to grips with politics. I was exposed to the vitriolic media campaign against Chávez, the Bolivarian Revolution, and the Venezuelan people. I come from the Irish Republican community; we are well conditioned to recognize the western, pro-capitalist bias of the mainstream media, and to distrust it accordingly. It doesn’t take much by way of research, a mere scratching of the surface, to realise what a transformative effect Hugo Chavez had on the people of Venezuela, but for those of use across the globe who are struggling for a better world – he was an remains our inspiration, and our fighting example.
To name a few, Chávez; eradicated illiteracy quadrupled the number of doctors, cut infant mortality, child malnutrition and poverty rates in half, delivered access to clean water for 95% of people, built 3 million homes in just six years, introduced a six-hour working day, and raised the minimum wage by an incredible 2000%. In the most basic terms, Chávez expropriated the wealthy oil barons and invested the money in his people, building homes and teaching them to read and write – there’s something incredibly, fundamentally human about that.
Four years ago, on the 4th anniversary of Chávez’s death, I was in Venezuela for a preparatory meeting of international social and political movements – I had the honor of representing Sinn Féin. We were there to offer our solidarity to the Venezuelan people, as the United States ramped up their regime change rhetoric. I was humbled to join thousands of Venezuelans as they queued in the streets to pay homage to their Comandante Eterno at the Mountain Barracks in Caracas. Chávez was their liberator, it was on their behalf he took on the vested interests of the capitalists and elitists who had robbed the Venezuela’s natural wealth for decades, despite the world’s foremost imperial power being on their side. Chávez took them on, won, and returned the country’s natural wealth to its rightful owners – the Venezuelan people.
The thing that struck me most in Venezuela was the emotion with which the people proclaimed, ‘Chávez vive!’ They really mean it. It’s hard to believe Chávez is actually gone, as he almost transcends death. The Venezuelan people adore him. Indeed, Chávez does live. He lives in the spirit of the Bolivarian Revolution, and the sheer dedication of the people to defend their revolutionary gains in the face of the renewed and vicious imperialist onslaught. In that fight, they will always have a comrade in me.
Chávez not only built a revolution; he inspired a revolutionary and unbreakable people. The fire he lit in Venezuela will forever burn in the hearts of everyone across the globe who is engaged in the struggle to create the better world that Hugo Chávez showed us was possible. Rest in power, Comandante Eterno.
Viva la lucha antiimperialista! Viva la Revolución Bolivariana! Viva Venezuela indestructible!
source Cuba Network in Defense of Humanity
By Aodhán Ó hAdhmaill