In Memoriam: Hugo Chavez 1954 – 2013

(10 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Hugo Chavez photo imagesqtbnANd9GcQKVr6bXWlFx7SxZgpgP_zps07654e05.jpg Popular Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez succumbed to cancer today in a hospital in Caracas ending his 14 years as the leader of the oil rich South American country.

The flamboyant 58-year-old had undergone four operations in Cuba for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region in mid-2011. His last surgery was on December 11 and he had not been seen in public since. [..]

Chavez easily won a new six-year term at an election in October and his death will devastate millions of supporters who adored his charismatic style, anti-U.S. rhetoric and oil-financed policies that brought subsidized food and free health clinics to long-neglected slums.

Pres. Chavez was certainly controversial but it was through his economic and social policies that Venezuela reduced the poverty level from a low of 55.44% in 1998 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty fell by 72%. He increased access to health care and education. In 2003, he made food security a priority by opening a nation wide chain of supermarkets and setting price ceilings for basic staple foods.

Pres. Chavez’ human rights record was somewhat mixed:

In the 1999 Venezuelan constitution, 116 of 300 articles were concerned with human rights; these included increased protections for indigenous peoples and women, and established the rights of the public to education, housing, healthcare, and food. It called for dramatic democratic reforms such as ability to recall politicians from office by popular referendum, increased requirements for government transparency, and numerous other requirements to increase localized, participatory democracy, in favor of centralized administration. It gave citizens the right to timely and impartial information, community access to media, and a right to participate in acts of civil disobedience.

However, as recently as 2010, Amnesty International has criticized the Chávez administration for targeting critics following several politically motivated arrests. Freedom House lists Venezuela as being “partly free” in its 2011 Freedom in the World annual report, noting a recent decline in civil liberties. A 2010 Organization of American States report found concerns with freedom of expression, human rights abuses, authoritarianism, press freedom, threats to democracy, as well as erosion of separation of powers, the economic infrastructure and ability of the president to appoint judges to federal courts.

Born Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías into a working-class family in Sabaneta, Barinas, he is survived by two ex-wives, Nancy Colmenares and Marisabel Rodríguez, and four children – Hugo Rafael, María Gabriela and Rosa Virginia by his first wife and Rosinés by his second.

Blessed Be. The Wheel Turns


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  1. TMC

    May the Goddess guide him on his journey to the Summerlands. May his family, his friends and the world find Peace.

  2. Xanthe

    fear-mongering, Commie calling, they’re after our freedoms – diary.

    This morning on Morning Joe –  yes, I was weak and wanted to see what Mika was wearing – both Sean Penn and Oliver Stone were scorned and sneered at because they both had something other than glee to express at Chavez’ death.  Sean Penn was thankful to President Chavez because he helped him when Penn was in Haiti trying to get some aid to that population.  Joe, of course, with his golden healthcare and neverending pension, and big bucks for the pablum passing for commentary, was naturally incensed at “Hollywood” types.  (DC types should not cast stones.)    

    No mention made about the CIA coup in Venezuela which was thwarted.  

    He was elected four times by the population – the people of Venezuela.  

    It’s complicated surely and worth a lot of research and time to write a thorough comment – (or another diary) but you con’t get the reforms Chavez made for the decades long repression of the Venezuelian poor (wretchedly poor) by playing neo-Socialist.   Or writing posts on a blog –  or  strongly worded letter to the editor.  He acted against the media which was controlled by the aristocrats and their military arm of Venezuela.  Tricky that.  Think really controlled, even more than our kittens playing journalists.

    How many countries had Chavez bombed?  How many wars had he begun for the enrichment of the elities of the military-industrial class?  How many countries destabilized?  

    Of course, Joe and DC speak from the dazzling heights of our freedoms (which are each day being trampled on).  But no matter – we’re No. 1 in military power anyway.  Not to mention citizens imprisoned.

  3. tahoebasha3

    Why?  Because he made decisions that benefited the PEOPLE!  And he stuck to his guns.  There had been attempts to down him in many ways . . . . but NOT by the PEOPLE!  The Venezuelans used sugar beets for fuel and whatever profits were made from the export of oil was spent on the country of Venezuela, and its PEOPLE.  Despite whatever faults anyone would find in him, he did, in fact, attempt to LIVE democratically.

    Most, if not all, of the problems Latin American countries have experienced for so many years have all been at our behest, i.e., coups, mysterious killings, the Iran Contra, and on and on.  Finally, these countries are standing up against the U.S. and saying “NO” to whatever demands we may or do make upon them.  “They,” these countries are becoming stronger in so many ways and their economies are surviving.  

    Cindy Sheehan has a wonderful tribute to him here!  In Loving Memory:  Hugo Chavez . … !

  4. Compound F

     from the past l-o-o-o-ng decade was when Chavez told the UN, “This place smells like sulfur.”

    My first favorite was, of course, the Iraqi shoe incident.

    Glory be to gawd and dappled things.  And Ugo.  The world is a lesser place.

  5. TMC

    His heart was with his people and he made their needs his priority.  

  6. TMC

    Just when I thought there was some glimmer of reality from Morning Joke when he went all out for better gun control, he got stupid over Krugman and the economy. Plus, he is such a bully. Mika should just get up and leave, Joe treats her terribly. He’s tone to her is condescending and abusive. She doesn’t, and shouldn’t be, treated like that. It’s disgusting.

  7. banger

    I like hearing about Joe and Mika (what was she wearing?) and the sorts of official positions they take–I think it’s important to gauge what the courtiers are thinking.

    There was a great article in the New Yorker a few issues past (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/01/28/130128fa_fact_anderson?intcid=obnetwork) worth reading. It is critical of the Venezeula situation but not in a stupid way but a realistic way. The reporter just shows the way things are there–it’s kind of a mess–but an interesting mess to me. I know what revolutionaries are up against and how profoundly difficult it is to refashion society along new lines where everyone around you is a potential enemy.

    BTW, I don’t think the CIA orchestrated the coup–it knew the people involved and they look kindly on it but weren’t directly involved. We have to remember that much of Latin America’s military men were trained by U.S. intel so they are or were (things have changed) actually intel assets so the line is fine.  

  8. banger

    I think he gave courage and aid to other leaders in the region to move away from U.S. imperial dominance–the situation for Latin America has changed drastically since he came on the scene.  

  9. Xanthe

    serious expression.

    See for example an article in the Observer dated 4/21/2002 – by Ed Vuliamy.

    Silly me – thinking the CIA would get involved in South American politics.

  10. banger

    But they have tended to be involved through contractors and “assets” rather than through direct involvement. They used to be directly involved and moved away from direct official involvement. The intel world has a whole stable of contractors that are even more unaccountable than the CIA itself.  

  11. TMC

    was why I chose that picture.

  12. Xanthe
  13. tahoebasha3

    There are those who do not rule out the CIA as having had a role in the ultimate death of Chavez!

    Note this:

    Obama Killed Chavez, By Stephen Lendman – Posted on 14 March 2013

    Most likely he was either poisoned or infected with cancer causing substances. Four cancer surgeries in 18 months raise suspicions.

    Chavez knew he was marked for death. He said so numerous times. Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez believes Washington and Israel conspired to kill him. . . . . . .

    I, personally, do not know what is or is not the truth, of course — what I DO KNOW is that we seem capable of doing whatever is deemed “necessary” by our government, which, as we have learned or should have learned, seems to be any exercise the government chooses without constraints, or regard to national or International laws.

  14. Xanthe

    I would have scoffed at this until a few years ago – when it became apparent the banks, Wall Street, corporations have pretty much escaped without any pain after they caused the economic fall we are now in.  We sure are suffering.

    Now – who knows?  


  15. tahoebasha3

    Anyway, Xanthe, it’s very hard to wrap one’s head around all the possibilities of what may actually have happened, I know.  But, reality is reality, whether we will it or not.  Chavez demonstrated a form of real democracy — a slap in the face to the U.S. Plus ALL THAT OIL!  You know how the U.S. feels about oil — we go wherever it is!

    Think back to how many other Latin American leaders have met with their fates over time.  Think back, for example, to the Minot incident — some of those involved met their fate before the incident and there were those who met their fate after the incident.  Think back to the mysterious loss of a Dr. who was thought to have been involved with anthrax (though he was, as I recall, an agent of the government’s bio-chemicals division or some such).  Then, think of Col. Ted Westhusing in Iraq (a highly respected and decorated Colonel), who had learned some very disturbing things and made mention of them, and later, was deemed to have committed suicide, yet everyone of his family members said that he was not a man who would have committed suicide ever.

    Think of the power of the CIA!

    Chavez was a “focal point” of the U.S. Government, so for him to have died in a plane accident or any of the other usual courses of death that Latin American dignitaries have suffered, would have way too obvious a means of “disposal” of him …. without question . . . . so, it would stand to reason that some other means of disposition of him would have had to used!

    Again, I don’t know, but I think there is a huge possibility that there may be truth to it all.  We are a country without boundaries!

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