Farewell Hugo Chavez The People's "Fiery" Commander

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[Commentary]1954-2013

The headlines of corporate newspapers proclaim the death of a "fiery" leader, Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president who on March 5th succumbed to a long struggle with cancer.

But is that reference necessarily a bad thing?

Coming from corporate media outlets who are the trumpeters of monopoly capital isn't that actually a compliment?

The New York Times reported on its front page that that even as unemployment remains high in the U.S. with millions of Americans out of work corporate profits are at an all-time high.

In other words, the top executives of American corporations continue to pay themselves hundreds of millions of dollars while millions of victims of the corporate-created recession still remain unemployed.

Yet there's no reaction to this perverse state of affairs. It's treated as normalcy. The way of life in the United States. The very few can accumulate capital from ordinary Americans to fuel companies and pay themselves millions of dollars whether the companies are profitable or not.

And when things go awry as they did in 2007 and 2008, these top corporate executives will also make a sacrifice by reducing the number of millions they pay themselves and deferring bonuses.

Who will speak up for the millions of unemployed who had nothing to do with the toxic products sold on Wall Street that helped start the economic slide? Are only Oligarchs entitled to the Good Life and the pursuit of happiness?

In Venezuela, many years ago Hugo Chavez posed these same questions. Venezuela was run by an oligarchy and the oil wealth benefited only the elite.

Chavez changed all this. After his attempt to seize power failed his popularity grew even more because the majority in Venezuela, the non-elite, had also been asking these same questions: Are only Oligarchs entitled to the Good Life and the pursuit of happiness?

Hugo Chavez ran in democratic elections and won. A few years ago, Oligarchs encouraged by the United States attempted a counter-revolution but it quickly fizzled when the masses of Venezuelans came out on the streets and rescued their Chavez.

Chavez empowered the poor by building housing and health clinics and by providing scholarships for education. Now Afro-Venezuelans felt they were a part of Venezuela.

Chavez steered several billions of dollars of the country's vast oil wealth towards social services and he battled with oil companies to increase the share of profits that would remain in Venezuela. He fought to remove the tentacles of external monopoly capital from total dominance of the country's oil industry.

Chavez knew that capital unregulated was dangerous, just as many Americans, ironically, have also come to the same conclusion in this country following the Wall Street excesses that pushed the U.S. economy to the brink.

It's clear from the outpouring of grief that millions of Venezuelan will miss this man, this non-elite who came out of nowhere and now departs like a soldier who has fought his share of the good fight.

Cancer? No cancer can erase what Chavez has already accomplished -- he has inspired millions globally.

Many of his followers would say: “With Chávez everything, without Chávez nothing.”

But that's not entirely true -- he has already shown the path and its hard to see Venezuelans accepting domination of the Oligarchs docilely again.

Chavez had empowered millions of Venezuelans who were once at the margins of society. He made them feel important; like humanbeings.If that's what "fiery" means, then, rest in peace, "fiery Commander" Hugo Rafael Chavez Frías.

 

 

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