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Glory to the 'Irreversible' and 'Immortal' Hugo Chavez! (Ahora, Cuba)


Will the influence, initiatives and policy plans of Hugo Chavez live on, or prove to be an anomaly in the long history of Latin America? Certainly, those in the Castro regime and on the Latin American left hope it is the former. From Cuba's state-run Ahora, economist and journalist Atilio Boron Martes explains why the shoes of Hugo Chavez will be so hard to fill, and why despite the absence of his physical presence, his influence is destined to live on.


By Atilio Borón Martes*



Translated By Douglas Myles Rasmussen


March 13, 2013


Cuba - Ahora - Original Article (Spanish)

A Chavez supporter gives him a final salute as she passes his casket, Mar. 8.


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It is so hard to assimilate the painful news of the death of Hugo Chávez Frías. One cannot help but curse the misfortune that has deprived our America of one of the few "indispensables," as Bertolt Brecht put it, in the unfinished struggle for our second and definitive independence. History will deliver its verdict on the work Chávez accomplished, and we have no doubt it will be a very positive one. Beyond any legitimate discussion that one can hold within the anti-imperialist context - which is not always wise enough to distinguish friend from foe - we must start be recognizing that the Bolivarian leader turned a page in Venezuelan history - and why not? - Latin America’s.


From now on, one must speak of Venezuela and Latin America as before and after Chávez, and it wouldn't be rash to speculate that like few in history, the changes he began and was responsible for carry the mark of irreversibility. The results of the recent Venezuelan elections, which reflected the maturity of the political consciousness of a people - support this forecast. One could retrace the path of nationalizations and privatizations of public enterprises, but it is infinitely more difficult to get a people who have acquired an awareness of freedom to retreat back into submission. In this continental dimension, Chávez was the principal actor in the defeat of the Empire’s most ambitious project for Latin America: the Free Trade Area of the Americas. That alone is enough to place him in the gallery of great patriots of our America. But he did much more.


This popular leader, a genuine representative of his people, with whom he communicated like no other ruler ever had, felt as a young man a visceral rejection of the oligarchy and imperialism. That sentiment was later evolved into a rational project: Bolivarian socialism for the 21st century. It was Chávez who, in the midst of the neoliberal night, reinstated to the Latin American public debate - and in large part the international debate - the relevance of socialism. More than that, he reaffirmed the necessity of socialism as the only real alternative to the inexorable decay of capitalism, exposing the fallacies of policies that promise to resolve the integral and systemic crisis that preserves the basic parameters of a socio-economic order that is historically a lost cause.


As noted above, he was the field marshal at Mar del Plata in November 2005 that handed imperialism the historic defeat of the Free Trade Area of the Americas [The 4th Summit of the Americas]. If Comandante Fidel was the strategist of this long battle, the realization of the victory would have been impossible without the leadership of the Bolivarian leader, whose persuasive eloquence solidified support from Summit host Néstor Kirchner [Argentina], Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva [Brazil], and a majority of heads of state present there, who at first were not too willing - unless openly opposed - to snub the emperor on his chin. Who else but Chávez could have overturned such a situation? The well-aimed instinct of the imperialists explains the implacable campaign Washington launched from the beginning of the summit. It was a crusade that, in keeping with a deplorable historical tradition, counted on the collaboration of far-left infantilism, that within and without Venezuela placed itself objectively at the service of the empire.

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For that reason, his death leaves a void that will be difficult, if not impossible, to fill. To his exceptional stature as a leader of the masses, one can add the astuteness of one who, like few others, knew how to figure out and act intelligently within the complicated geopolitical framework of the empire, which seeks to perpetuate the subordination of Latin America. It is a subordination that can only be fought holding onto the unity of the people of Latin America and the Caribbean - in line with the ideas of Simon Bolívar, José de San Martín, José Gervasio Artigas, David Alfaro Siqueiros, Francisco Morazán, Jose Martí and, more recently, Che Guevara and Fidel. Like a force beyond nature, Chávez "reformatted" the agendas of governments, parties and social movements throughout the region with an endless torrent of initiatives and integrationist proposals: from the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) to Telesur; from Petrocaribe to the Banco del Sur; from UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) and the Council of South American Defense to the CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States). All were initiatives that share the same indelible genetic code: that of fervent and determined anti-imperialism.


Chávez will no longer be among us, radiating that disarming cordiality, that sharp and quick sense of humor that disarmed the rules of protocol, that generosity and selflessness that made him so loveable. Like Marti to the core, he knew (as the Cuban apostle put it) that to be free, one has to be educated. For that reason, his intellectual curiosity was boundless. In an age where almost no head of state reads anything - what did his detractors Bush, Aznar, Berlusconi, Menem, Fox and Fujimori ever read? - Chávez was the type of reader any author would like for his books. He read constantly, despite the heavy obligations imposed on him by his government responsibilities. And he read with passion, armed with pencils, pens and highlighters in various colors which he used to mark and note the most interesting passages, the most remarkable quotations and the most profound arguments in the books he was reading. This extraordinary man, who honored me with his intimate friendship, has left us forever. But he left us an immense and indelible legacy, and the peoples of Our America, inspired by his example, will continue to on the path that leads toward our second and definitive independence.


The same will happen with him that happened with Che: his death, far from clearing him from the political stage, will make his presence and influence in the struggle of our peoples even greater. By one of those paradoxes that history reserves for the great alone, his death make him an immortal figure. Paraphrasing the Venezuelan national anthem: Glory to the valiant Chávez! To victory, always, Comandante!


*Atilio Borón Martes is an Argentine economist and journalist, and former chief at CLASCO - the Latin America and Caribbean Social Science Virtual Libraries Network



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Posted By Worldmeets.US Mar. 13, 2013, 10:49pm