I was saddened to learn of the death of Hugo Chavez, the charismatic Socialist leader of Venezuela. He has fought a long hard battle with cancer for some time and it would seem that that battle has now ended.
A clearly emotional Nicolas Maduro, his deputy, made the announcement on
Tuesday evening, flanked by leading Venezuelan political and military leaders.
He was a giant of a man and the poor of Venezuela have him to thank for
lifting thousands and thousands of them out of poverty.
He has been President since 1999 and recently won a new 6 year term.
A man of the people, he introduced a system of Bolivarian Missions, Communal
Councils and worker managed cooperatives, as well as a program of land reform,
whilst also nationalising various key state industries during his time.
He was a fierce opponent of imperialism and neoliberals. He was a constant
thorn in the side of American foreign policy and formed a strong South American
partnership with the Castro's of Cuba, Morales in Bolivia, Correa in Ecuador
and Ortega in Nicaragua.
He has been a firm supporter of Liberation Theology and viewed himself a
My own hope is that Nicolas Maduro is allowed to carry on his legacy and
that the people of Venezuela, the working poor are able to continue to advance
under his ideals.
The international left have lost a major figure with his passing.