World’s people show solidarity with Chávez
By Berta Joubert-Ceci
December 21, 2012
Since Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez announced the recurrence of
the cancer that he has been battling since 2011 and the need for additional
surgery, he has been the object of world solidarity. He told the Venezuelan
people on Dec. 8 that his last medical examination showed that malignant cells
recurred at the site in his abdomen where he had been treated earlier. As a
result, he needed a fourth operation.
This time, however, the outcome could be disability or even death. As the
Constitution mandates, he designated current Vice President Nicolás Maduro
to stand in during the treatment and as his successor should he be unable to
return to office by the Jan. 10 Inauguration Day. He asked Venezuelans to elect
Maduro president if new elections are needed.
Chávez then flew to Havana, Cuba, in preparation for surgery on Dec.
11. A skilled Cuban medical team had the difficult task of treating and trying
to save the life not only of an individual, but the hope of millions of people
throughout the region and the world.
Why is Chávez important?
One leader is not the revolution. It is the masses and the process of
revolution that create leaders, and not the other way around. Leaders, however,
can steer the revolution, coordinate resources and speed it up. Leaders are
also an important part of revolutions when they are the product of the
Chávez is such a leader. He has been able to gather and concentrate the
desire of the Venezuelan people for social justice and equality and turn it
into action. Under his presidency, the government has lifted the lives of all
Venezuelans, dedicating an impressive 43.2 percent of the budget to social
programs. Illiteracy is now nonexistent in Venezuela and poverty has been
Venezuela is a dynamic country where people participate actively in forming
Along with improving the quality of life of millions of people,
Chávez’s government has shown that Simón Bolívar’s
dream of regional integration could be a reality. Together with revolutionary
Cuba, Venezuela impelled the formation of anti-imperialist regional
associations like the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA). These
associations have been crucial for the improvement and cohesion of the region,
including other Caribbean nations.
Chávez and Venezuela inspire the world by standing up against the U.S.
imperialist monster. They show that nations can win and maintain national
dignity, independence and sovereignty in the face of criminal imperialist
That is why the news of his illness has moved people to almost personal
suffering — what one feels for a family member — from Venezuela and
Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa, Asia, the Middle East and
Chávez is close to the hearts of millions. One can see their feelings
in the faces of women and men of all ages in the photos of gatherings in
Venezuela and hear it in their testimony.
Chávez, who of all the Latin American presidents has used social
networks extensively, has been inundated with messages of well-wishers in his
“chavezcandanga” Twitter account.
Beyond Venezuela, Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa canceled his
appointments and flew to Havana to be with Chávez before his surgery. All
the presidents of the ALBA countries have been in constant communication with
Chávez’s representatives. They and many other heads of state and
multiple organizations have organized solidarity events with Chávez and
the Venezuelan people.
Most of these events have been religious, of every kind. In the context of
sadness and individual impotence in the face of an unknown outcome, it reflects
the importance of religion for millions of people in Latin America. At a
service in a Venezuelan mosque, Vice President Maduro said that 58 mosques in
Muslim countries were holding services for Chávez’s health that
These services are acts of solidarity with the Bolivarian Revolution and its
aim of liberation from imperialism. Uruguayan President José Mujica, who
is not religious himself, sent Chávez a letter, saying: “As you
know, I am not a believer, but I have asked some friends to organize a mass so
that those who wish to express themselves religiously for your health have a
place here in our country. I will go with them.”
In Cuba, it has been reported that both Raúl and Fidel Castro visit him
daily and talk with the Chávez family, who are by his side.
Elections in Venezuela without Chávez
The regional elections held Dec. 16, without Chávez’s physical
presence, selected 23 governors and 237 representatives to the Legislative
Council, including eight representatives of Indigenous regions.
The candidates from Chávez’s PSUV party won in 20 of
Venezuela’s 23 states, gaining the governor’s house in five states
formerly in the opposition’s hands. This is a significant popular victory
and a step forward on the road toward socialism.
This will be no easy task. Even a fully recovered Chávez would face a
complex process with enemies inside and outside Venezuela, particularly U.S.
imperialism and its local stooges. We must not forget that Venezuela is still a
capitalist country, and socialism is still an ideal, although there are
definite plans for its construction. All the socialist forces everywhere should
be paying close attention to this process and help sustain it and defend it
from the imperialist forces.
This is the time that people around the world, and particularly all the
progressive forces inside the United States, need to show a strong commitment
to and solidarity with the Venezuelan Bolivarian Revolution and its leader,
Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías.
¡Chávez, amigo, estamos contigo!
Chávez, we are all with you!