By PATNUBAY DE GUIA
NDFP Southern Tagalog Region
Minutes after news of the death of Hugo Chavez broke, Venezuelan mourners were in the streets of Caracas, singing a popular folk song, which says, “those who die for life cannot be called dead.” Indeed.
The National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the revolutionary community in the Southern Tagalog Region express its solidarity and condolences to the Venezuelan people mourning their great leader Hugo Chavez. He lived his life and died advancing the rights and interests of the people. He is dead but his endeavours live on.
Hugo Chavez had spent more than two decades in bringing about meaningful change in Venezuela and the lives of its people. He championed the welfare of the poor. Whatever his critics may have said at home and abroad, the programs Hugo Chavez government won the hearts of millions of Venezuelans — access to education, heath care, affordable food staples and public utilities.
Hugo Chavez stood up against imperialism. His stand was genuine. Imperialism with its neoliberal policies exploits and oppresses the people. His government then spearheaded the nationalization of Venezuela’s vast oil wealth and utilized its revenues for social programs.
Chavez has openly criticized the US in launching an all-out war against the people of Iraq leaving hundreds of thousands people dead and for its intervention in ridding out Libya’s leader Gadhafi. He denounced foreign monopoly control, showed that US intervention and its ambition for worldwide hegemony destroy nations and that the people can and should run their own affairs.
Hugo Chavez encouraged and developed means of support to fulfill mutual interests between Venezuelans and other countries in Latin America such as Cuba, Argentina and Bolivia. In 2000, thousands of Cuban doctors, nurses and educators flocked to Venezuela to help Hugo Chavez government staff its social programs. Venezuela on the other hand supplied Cuba with oil at preferential rates. In 2004, Venezuela was one of the founding states in the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americans (ALBA). Hugo Chavez along with allied countries such as Brazil and Bolivia set up a regional bank called Bank of the South, an alternative to financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund.
Therein lies Hugo Chavez’ inescapable power — striving after the welfare of his people and fatherland; fostering unity and forging ties with countries promoting socialism and fighting against the people’s enemies.
The US imperialist who seeks to control Venezuela’s oil and other natural resources shall surely take advantage of the death of Hugo Chavez. But like other enduring social movements in other parts of the world, the death of a great leader does not signify the end of a revolution. Hugo’s death is not a return to capitalism but only strengthens the unity and ignites the will of the people to end all imperialist intervention. With Venezuelan people pushing forward the revolution, the battle against imperialism continues. The united and armed struggle of the Venezuelan people shall free them from the claws of imperialism.
Discounting rumors of his death, Chavez’s older brother Adan Chavez on March 1 said to cheering supporters, “there he is, continuing his fight, his battle, and we are sure of victory!” Now Hugo Chavez is telling the Venezuelans and struggling people of the world, “continue your fight, your battle, and we are sure of victory!”