Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, President of Venezuela, died at the age of 58 on 5 March 2013. He was undoubtedly the most significant political leader that fought against the neoliberal political doctrine that USA tried to impose on the whole world. A revolutionary and a gifted rhetorician, Chavez will be remembered as one of the bravest political leaders of our time.
In the beginning of the 1990s, it was a hard time for Venezuela: thousands went on strike against the forced neoliberal reforms that lead to the impoverishment of the majority of the population of the country and many of the striking were shot dead. In 1992, as an officer commanding several military units, Chavez captured by assault the presidential palace. The take-over was unsuccessful and Chavez was imprisoned. Luckily, he was released two years later after a major change in the political life of Venezuela. In 1997, Hugo Chavez founded the Fifth Republic Movement and won the presidential elections in 1998. There was an unsuccessful take-over in 2002 that aimed to eliminate Chavez but the people of Venezuela revolted against his elimination and he became a president again.
Chavez undertook reformes that lead to significant reduction of the number of the illiterate, the unemployed and paupers in Venezuela. Under his government, the country paid back all of its national debt. The improved economic environment lead to a great increase in the birth-rate. What is more, Chavez withdrew all the Venezuelan gold from the Federal Reserve System and European banks. Using the position of his country among the biggest petrol exporters, he managed to make the OPEC member countries to work in accordance in order to control the conditions of the world petrol market. Indisputably, USA were displeased with this action. Chavez was not afraid to offend the US in his speeches and, what is more, he turned to Russia, signing big military contracts. Chavez had good relationships with Cuba, Iran and Belarus – countries that make a stand against liberalism.
The cancer plot
Chavez never showed despair all the time he was fighting with cancer. In the end of 2011 he mentioned that it is possible for the US to have developed a way to induce cancer as long as political leaders in South America very often have cancer – President of Brazil Dilma Rouseff and her predecessor Lula da Silva, President of Paraguay President Fernando Lugo, President of Argentina Cristina Kirchner. Again too many coincidences.
Hugo Chavez was a highly disputed person around the world. And his political and economic views may not suite everyone. But the fact is that the majority of the people in Venezuela loved him. He did what he believed is best for his country and that’s why we can call him a true patriot.
No matter if you liked him or not, Hugo Chavez is going to be remembered as one of the most significant leaders of our time.