Je Suis Chavez!
by Stephen Lendman
In Venezuela and throughout Latin America, Chavistas proclaim Yo soy Chavez (I am Chavez)! March 5 marked the second anniversary of his death.
Obama killed him - either by poisoning or infecting him with incurable cancer causing substances. Four major surgeries in 18 months couldn't save him.
He's gone. Chavismo lives! Bolivarian social justice he began is institutionalized. Venezuelans get vital benefits Americans can't imagine.
Constitutional provisions mandate them. America and Venezuela are constitutional worlds apart. More on this below.
On March 5, 2013, word came at 4:45PM. Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced it.
Saying "(w)e have just received the most tragic and awful information. Hugo Chavez Frias died. It's a moment of deep pain."
"Those who die for life can't be called dead," he stressed. Supporters massed in Plaza Bolivar. I
t's Caracas' main square. "Chavez vive, la lucha sigue," they chanted. "Chavez lives, the battle continues."
"The people united will never be defeated." Oligarchs "will never return" to the Miraflores Palace.
Fidel Castro called Chavez the "Olympic champion of new socialist ideas."
He called Castro his father, mentor and friend. He died at age 58. He's sorely missed.
At the time, then Vice President Nicolas Maduro called on Venezuelans "to confront the lamentable death of the President of the Republic with much strength, courage and integrity."
TeleSUR addressed his legacy on the second anniversary of his death. Saying "the size and intensity of the events that followed were some measure of (his) huge impact…"
He was a legend in his own time. He delivered vital constitutional change. He survived earlier US efforts to oust him.
He lifted millions of Venezuelans out of poverty. He gave them dignity and a political role through what he called a "new geometry of power" - including grassroots communal councils, national referenda and cooperatives among other initiatives.
After he died, millions queued for hours to pay final tribute - to say farewell. An outpouring of grief resonated throughout Latin America and worldwide.
World leaders expressed condolences. Maduro said "(l)et there be no weakness, no violence. Let there be no hate. In our hearts there should only be one sentiment: Love. Love, peace and discipline."
"We have lost our best friend," Fidel Castro lamented.
"He is more alive than ever, and will keep being the inspiration for all people fighting for liberation," Bolivian President Evo Morales said.
Ecuador's Rafael Correa said "(w)e have lost a revolutionary, but millions of us remain inspired."
Brazil's Dilma Rousseff recognized Chavez as "a great leader, an irreparable loss, and above all, a friend of Brazil and its people."
Former Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva said he was "proud to have lived and worked with him for the integration of Latin America and for a more just world."
Jimmy Carter praised Chavez. Saying he "joined other leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to create new forms of integration."
"Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time, allowing them to participate more effectively in their country’s economic and political life."
Chavez's daughter Maria Gabriela urged others to follow her father's example. "We should continue constructing the homeland always my father," she said.
"Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live forever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned,” said Oliver Stone.
"He was an unorthodox and strong person, who looked to the future and always set himself the highest standards," said Russian President Vladimir Putin,
Chavistas assembled outside the hospital where he died chanted "We are all Chavez!"
Obama unsurprisingly offered no condolences. He lied "reaffirm(ing) (US) support for the Venezuelan people" he intends exploiting if Washington regains control over its former client state.
Obama's political and economic war on Venezuela replicates what Nixon did to Chile prior to its 9/11/73 coup elevating fascist dictator Augusto Pinochet to power.
James Petras calls his tactics "a dress rehearsal for other countries in the region." He wants Venezuela and other independent Latin American nations looking like Honduras and Ukraine.
He wants the entire region restored as America's "backyard." He wants it exploited like what Petras calls the 1990s "golden age of pillage."
He wants anyone challenging US dominance eliminated. He wants the scourge of fascist viciousness replacing democratic freedoms.
Petras urges Venezuelans (and people everywhere) to "convert (America's) drive to restore neo-liberal privilege into the graveyard of rentier capitalism."
On the anniversary of his death, Venezuelans remembered Chavez. They paid him special homage for revolutionary change never before achieved in the nation's history since Bolivar.
On March 5, Maduro addressed a special ceremony honoring Chavez - held at the Montana barracks where his remains lie.
It took place at 4:45PM - the time Chavez passed. A military salute honored him.
"Today is a day full of emotions, of feelings, of memories," said Maduro.
"Two years in which we had to accept, and live through, the harshest reality of our generation and future generations."
Chavez was "the greatest leader Venezuela has had after Simon Bolivar. (He) sacrificed his life for the people, by the people, for the life of all of us."
"We should be proud of the renewed, just, profound, and passionate anti-imperialism that was brought to us by Hugo Chavez."
On February 26, British historian Richard Gott delivered the second annual Hugo Chavez Memorial lecture in London's Bolivar Hall.
He met Chavez numerous times. He called him "a man of immense charm and huge enthusiasms, a delight to be with, and he never forgot a face."
He once said before becoming president "(w)e as soldiers (are) engaged in the search (for political and economic revolutionary change), and today we are convinced of the need for the Venezuelan army to return to what it once was: an army to defend what Bolivar called social guarantees."
Gott said the phrase was in Bolivar's 1830 final proclamation before his death. It's included in Venezuela's Bolivarian constitution.
It mandates "the right to life, work, learning, education, social justice and equality, without discrimination or subordination of any kind."
Gott said Chavez made sure a civilian would replace him when he died. "Maduro is not Chavez," he explained. "(T)hat would be too much to ask."
"But he is a clever and sophisticated politician with much experience." Chavez believed he was the right leader to succeed him.
He made sure potential Pinochets would be marginalized and avoided. Like other progressive figures before him, he'll be remembered for his anti-imperial reformist legacy.
Gott called him "the power of example." He rejected neoliberal harshness. He championed Bolivarian fairness.
Washington tried throughout his tenure to oust him. Chavez believed dark US forces wanted him dead.
He once said "If they kill me, there will be a really guilty party on this planet whose name is the president of the United States."
"I will not hide. I'm going in the streets with you. I entrust myself to God, but I know that I have been condemned to die."
When first diagnosed with what he called a "very strange" bout of cancer, he believed Washington bore responsibility.
Other Latin American leaders perhaps not coincidentally had cancer. They survived, not Chavez. Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner had thyroid cancer.
Former Brazilian President Lula Da Silva had throat cancer. Current President Dilma Rousseff battled axillar lymphoma.
Others affected included Colombia's Juan Manuel Santos (prostate cancer), and Paraguay's Fernando Lugo (lymphatic cancer).
Chavez once said "(w)ould it be so strange that they've invented the technology to spread cancer and we won't know about it for 50 years?"
"Fidel always told me (to) take care. These people have developed technologies," he said.
"Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat. They inject you with I don't know what."
Chavez went where few leaders ever dared. He risked his life doing it. He died for what he believed in. He gave Venezuelans what American's can't imagine.
Including real participatory social democracy. Jimmy Carter calls Venezuela's electoral process the world's best.
It shames America's sham system - a one-party sate with two wings serving monied interests, not popular ones. Ordinary people have no say whatever.
All Venezuelans are guaranteed suffrage at birth. It's constitutionally mandated. They're automatically registered free of charge.
They have government of, by and for everyone. They're beholden to rule of law principles.
Police state laws are verboten. Democratic ones rule. No one's above the law. Democracies operate this way.
Venezuelans get vital social benefits. Oil revenues provide them even at today's lower prices.
They include education to the highest levels, quality healthcare, subsidized food and housing, land reform, respect for indigenous rights, job training, micro credit, affordable electricity and cooking gas, gasoline at 5 cents a liter, and other social, economic, and political benefits.
Americans get neoliberal harshness, force-fed austerity, growing poverty, high unemployment, painful underemployment, unaddressed homelessness and hunger, as well as a government beholden solely to wealth and powerful interests.
Chavez institutionalized progressive change. Maduro's challenge is preserving Bolivarianism - knowing Washington wants him eliminated like Chavez.
His credentials are impeccable. Why Chavez believed he was the right leader to replace him.
He's entrusted with preventing dark US forces from returning Venezuela to its bad old days.
It's not easy beating Washington at its dirty game. Chavez succeeded for 14 years.
Maduro's tenure began as interim president in March 2013 before Venezuelans elected him in April to lead them.
He battles ongoing US political and economic destabilization efforts - war by other means by any standard.
He foiled Obama's coup to oust him. He knows it won't be last time he's targeted for removal.
He faces constant US scoundrel media propaganda war. New York Times
editors viciously attack him with a blitzkrieg of Big Lies.
On March 5, their latest broadside wrongfully accused him of "blaming and punishing scapegoats for his own failings."
They bashed him for shrinking US embassy staff from over 100 to 17. It's a nest of spies. A previous article by this writer urged kicking them all out.
Major US human rights abusers are banned from entering Venezuela - including GW Bush and Dick Cheney.
Times editors disgracefully mocked Maduro - calling his legitimate long overdue policy changes "theatrics." Hopefully stiffer ones will follow.
State terror is official US policy. Times editors support what demands rejection. They're in lockstep with all US direct and proxy wars of aggression.
They consider turning nations to rubble, slaughtering it people, stealing its resources and enslaving its people democracy building.
They mock legitimate journalism. They represent wealth, power and privilege. They want fascist governance replacing Maduro. They want what Venezuelans won't tolerate.
Chavismo lives! Maduro's job is preserving what Chavez instituted and taking it to the next level.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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