[News] Hugo Chavez: New World Rising

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed Mar 6 17:16:07 EST 2013

*Hugo Chavez: New World Rising*

*by BAR executive editor Glen Ford


"/For 14 years, they have painted the Bolivarian Republic as 
illegitimate, dictatorial, primitive."/

The darker majorities of Latin America mourn the passing of the people's 
champion, President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, the man whom the racist 
white Venezuelan elite called /ese mono/ -- "that monkey." Since 1998 -- 
with a 48-hour break during the 2002, U.S.-sponsored coup -- the 
four-fifths of Venezuela that is some variety of 
Indigenous-mestizo-mullato-African -- like Chavez -- has known power for 
the first time since the conquistadors of Western Europe launched their 
500-year war against the rest of planet Earth.

South America's emergence as the most promising zone of resistance to 
U.S. imperial savagery is inseparable from the dark awakening in the 
barrios, favelas, rural villages and native highlands of the continent. 
Chavez's triumph, and that of the Aymara-descended Bolivian president, 
_Evo Morales <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evo_Morales>_, in 2005, are 
the most dramatic expressions of what has been called the "Latin Spring" 
-- a reclamation of national patrimony that is, by historical necessity, 
socialist. As a result, a large majority of South Americans now live 
under relatively progressive governments.

The Cuban Revolution of 1959 was, of course, the great hemispheric 
breakaway from Yankee empire in the 20^th century, the seminal event in 
the disintegration of what later came to be called the "Washington 
Consensus" in Latin America. Chavez's victory, almost 40 years later, 
was the other shoe dropping, a phenomenon nearly as racially-weighted, 
in Latin American terms, as the Haitian Revolution that culminated in 
1804. Fidel, the son of a Spanish soldier, declared that "the blood of 
Africa runs deep in our veins" and that Cuba is an "African Spanish" 
nation. However, that reality was hardly visible in the Cuban hierarchy. 
Not so, with Chavez, the /pardo/ whose lineage was obvious and proudly 
worn. "My Indian roots are from my father's side. He is mixed Indian and 
black, which makes me very proud," _said Chavez 
<http://venezuelanalysis.com/print/1414>_ -- a circumstance of birth and 
pride that made the whites of affluent east Caracas neighborhoods like 
Altamira spitting mad, hysterical in their hatred. The racial-political 
color line has long been plain to see in the complexions of pro- and 
anti-government demonstrations in Venezuela.

"/The 'Latin Spring' is, by historical necessity, socialist."/

The purported "ambiguity" of race in South America is largely limited to 
those who belong to the innumerable subgroups of the Not-White, in all 
their flavors. However, for the fraction of the population that believe 
themselves to be purely European, there is no ambiguity; they know 
precisely who they are (or claim to be). Color lines may be fuzzy among 
the mixed race majorities of much of Latin America, but white elites 
quickly bring these boundaries into stark relief when fundamental 
questions of privilege and power arise. Popular power means the rule of 
people like "that monkey," Chavez -- illegitimate and bestial.

U.S. corporate media speak the language of the pale denizens of 
Altamira. For 14 years, they have painted the Bolivarian Republic as 
illegitimate, dictatorial, primitive. Chavez is delegitimized as a 
"strongman," rather than a remarkably popular politician and icon who 
has won more elections than any other head of state in the western 
hemisphere during the same space of time. As former U.S. president 
_Jimmy Carter said 
last year: "As a matter of fact, of the 92 elections that we've 
monitored, I would say that the election process in Venezuela is the 
best in the world."

In assessing Chavez's "legacy," the global bourgeois media cite the 
"divisions" that plague Venezuelan society and, in the words of 
/Business Week/, an economy in "shambles." But, Chavez and his comrades 
would have been abject failures -- and been tossed from office -- had 
they not drawn lines between the oppressed majority and the privileged 
exploiters. Division is good and necessary. Consequently, the economy 
has succeeded in reducing the proportion of households in poverty from 
44 percent in 1998 to 27 percent in 2011. Chavez has served the people.

"/The racial-political color line has long been plain to see in the 
complexions of pro- and anti-government demonstrations in Venezuela."/

Just before Chavez's last electoral victory, former Brazilian president 
Lula da Silva, a product of the post-1998 wave of leftist triumphs at 
the polls, _said 
"A victory for Chávez is not just a victory for the people of Venezuela 
but also a victory for all the people of Latin America ... this victory 
will strike another blow against imperialism."

Last week, as Chavez was fading, the opposition leader, Henrique 
Capriles Radonski, traveled to _New York, Miami and Washington 
-- presumably, to get his marching orders. Washington hopes that 
Venezuelan socialism cannot survive without Chavez. In their state of 
desperate decay, the imperialists are willing to throw whole regions of 
the world into chaos rather than be eclipsed by new alignments of trade 
and international relations. Venezuelans have every reason to expect a 
renewed U.S. campaign of destabilization, in the wake of their leader's 

Chavez tried to give Barack Obama the benefit of the doubt. On election 
night, 2008, at a rally in Caracas, Chavez spoke _this way 
of the president-elect:

"We are not asking him to be a revolutionary, to be a socialist -- no. 
We just want the black man who is about to be the U.S. president to have 
enough stature for the times the world is living through.

"I send an overture to the black man, from us here, who are of 
Indigenous, black, Caribbean, South American race. I am ready to sit 
down and talk ... I hope we can, and I hope we can enter a new stage."

But the Black man in the White House is _smelling like sulphur 
<http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-20712033>_, just like his 

/BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at 
/_/Glen.Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com/ 
<mailto:Glen.Ford at BlackAgendaReport.com>_/./

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