A great revolutionary light has been extinguished, but the cause for which President Hugo Chávez fought lives on as his abiding legacy, for it is the finest cause in all the world – and he served it truly.
It is with profound sorrow that we learned of Comrade Chávez’s deteriorating medical condition and death, but his great spirit – which helped to transform the economic and political relations of his fellow workers, the Venezuelan masses, and the Americas – lives on.
Hugo Chávez will live forever in the hearts of the working masses of Venezuela, the Caribbean, Latin America, and all who struggle for the liberation of humanity.
A life in service of humanity
All men must die, but death can vary in its significance. The ancient Chinese writer Szuma Chien said: “Though death befalls all men alike, it may be weightier than Mount Tai or lighter than a feather.” And Comrade Mao Zedong added: “To die for the people is weightier than Mount Tai, but to work for the fascists and die for the exploiters and oppressors is lighter than a feather.” (Serve the people, 8 September 1944)
Though he gained power via election, defeating a former beauty queen, Chávez struggled relentlessly to implement social reforms, by constitutional means, to improve the lot of the working people.
He did so in the teeth of the fierce opposition of the wealthy Venezuelan bourgeois elite, who had originally penned the constitution to serve their own interests.
There can be no doubt that Chávez numbered among the great revolutionary spirits of his time. His name is rightly associated with those of Fidel and Raul Castro, Evo Morales, Daniel Ortega and other Latin-American revolutionaries. Many of his followers considered that he followed in the footsteps of their great revolutionary hero Che Guevara.
He strove to liberate the masses from poverty and US imperial domination; to serve the people and to arm them politically and organisationally.
A hero of the masses
For this reason, he was loved by the Venezuelan working masses, and for the same reason he was hated by the wealthy comprador capitalist elite and their media, who ceaselessly connived and collaborated with the US imperial goliath against his presidency and his government.
If it was the ballot box that brought Chávez to power, it was also the bullet – the threat of the revolutionary violence of the oppressed, whose representative he undoubtedly was – that maintained him.
It was the great love and popular support of the Venezuelan masses for Commandante Chávez, and the loyalty of the rank and file of the Venezuelan military, that frustrated the CIA’s illegal coup attempt in 2002.
The USA has never apologised for its dirty propaganda, political interference, and violent military campaign against the democratically elected president of Venezuela, and against the Venezuelan people and state.
For the US imperialists, although bogged down in their colonial campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan, never ceased to regard all Latin America as their ‘back yard’, their ‘lebensraum’, their ‘natural’ colony to exploit, and they ceaselessly conspired with the local elite to depose Chávez.
An enemy of imperialism
The imperialists and reactionaries never forgave Chávez for his nationalisation of the great oil and mineral resources of Venezuela; for his social and medical programmes to improve the health and lives of Venezuelan people based upon this national wealth; for his successful and creative advocacy of socialist principles.
Nor did they cease to rage at his practical, economic and political cooperation with communist Cuba, and with the popular progressive and anti-imperialist governments in Bolivia, Ecuador, Honduras, El-Salvador, Zimbabwe, north Korea and elsewhere.
When he successfully campaigned to change the constitution to tip the balance of power to benefit the poor, their anger rose to fever pitch.
Of course, the US cannot apologise for its unceasing attempts to bring Chávez’s government down, for its intentions remain unchanged: to re-conquer, to subdue and to repossess Venezuela’s huge wealth, to pour her resources into US imperialism’s failing economy, sustained as it is only by bloodshed and plunder.
As we mourn our fallen hero, therefore, we pledge also to redouble our efforts to defend the values and that Comrade Hugo Chávez upheld.
Imperialists all over the world will no doubt be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of rolling back the popular gains in Venezuela. We must remain vigilant, in opposing the attempts to recolonise Venezuela and Latin America.
We send our heartfelt condolences to Hugo Chávez’s family, comrades and supporters, and a final red salute to our fallen comrade!
Venezuelan revolution advances amidst challenges, February 2013