Chavez remembered

On behalf of the officers and members of both the Clement Payne Movement and the Peoples Empowerment Party of Barbados, I would like to extend heartfelt condolences to the government and people of Venezuela on the tragic death of President Hugo Chavez Frias.

The people of Venezuela have lost a “father” of their nation; the people of Latin America have lost an “architect” of their civilisation; the people of the Caribbean have lost one of their most sincere friends and benefactors; the people of the so-called Third World have lost their preeminent freedom-fighter; and the people of the world have lost a legendary humanist, a veritable lover of human-kind!

Hugo Chavez burst on the scene in the early 1990s at a time when Venezuela, and literally the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean, was in the debilitating and degrading clutches of a seemingly rampant United States and Western European neo-liberal, imperialist system.

And this young army officer responded by consciously taking upon himself the mission of completing the revolution that the great liberator, Simon Bolivar, had embarked upon two hundred years earlier!

As a result, Chavez set out to unify Latin America and to secure its sovereignty and independence; to resurrect Latin American nationalism and to augment it with a 21st century brand of Socialism that would equip it to uplift and empower the hitherto marginalised components of the Latin American population; to nationalise Venezuela’s vast petroleum resources and to put them to work on behalf of the poor and the disenfranchised; to construct Third World solidarity and concrete South-South cooperation; to develop a new anti-capitalist and humanist approach to international relations; to righteously and aggressively confront “imperialism” where ever and whenever it raised its ugly head; and to build a bridge of friendship and mutual respect between Latin America and the Caribbean.

And, as ambitious as this agenda was and is, the amazing thing is that Chavez succeeded!

Concrete evidence of his success can be found in the current elevated levels of literally all of Venezuela’s social indicators; in the dominance of Socialist and Nationalist governing regimes in Latin American countries ranging from Argentina in the south of the continent to Nicaragua in the north; in the existence of the Bolivarian Alliance of The Americas, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, the Union of South American Nations, the Africa-South America Summit, the Petro-Caribe Energy Cooperation Agreement, the Bank of the South, the Television Network of the South, and the list goes on and on.

Additional evidence can also be found in the intangible quality of hope and optimism that he inspired in hundreds of millions of breasts all across the globe — hope that a different and better world was indeed possible; hope that the noble, life-affirming political philosophy of Socialism would have a new lease on life in the 21st century; hope that men and women of good-will could reach across boundaries of race, gender and nationality and embrace each other as brothers and sisters, as members of a unique and sacred human family.

Hugo Chavez Frias may have died at the relatively young age of 58 years, but what a blazing, illuminating, enlivening and ennobling impact he had in that short life-span! He gave of himself — nay — he spent himself in the service of his Venezuelan country-men and women; in the service of his beloved Latin America; and in the service of a battered and bruised humanity.

By his brilliant and sacrificial living he has changed the world, and he will never be forgotten!

— David Comissiong,

President of the Clement Payne Movement / Peoples Empowerment Party

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