It’s sad that, Mr.Hugo Chavez,, the Socialist President of Venezuela, a very popular peoples’ leader, has died of cancer on 6th March 2013, and is no more.
He was a great orator and could make his audience spell bound for hours on end. In early 1980s he had founded a secret organization, the Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement, after the famous Latin American 19 th century Independence leader Simon Bolivar ,renamed it as” The Movement Of the fifth republic” and a decade later merged it with other groups to form the Socialist Party of Venezuela in 1998, on a Socialist manifesto promising political, social and economic democracy to every Venezuelan unlike before where wealth was confined only to a few.
He nationalized Venezuela oil sector and invested the profits in lifting majority of Venezuelans from poverty, and considerably reduced child malnutrition and mortality, reduced inflation considerably, provided social security benefits such as old age pensions to a majority, and ensured one out of three Venezuelan has access to University education free of cost. School education registered an increase to 85% during his tenure. Imports were considerably cut and exports got appreciably increased during his regime. He exchanged Venezuelan petro dollars for Cuban doctors, which policy was called “Chavismo” incurring the Wrath of the US and the western Europe. As a result of this policy the US publicly welcomed a coup against him in Venezuela in 2002. However this regime lasted only for a brief period and he again got returned to power. In the recent December 2012 General elections also although he has not personally campaigned his allies won 20 out of 23 seats and he was reelected as President thus proving that Venezuelan people have endorsed all his policies.
He withdrew 20 billion dollars from US Federal Reserve and since 2007 started aiding Latin America to the tune of $36 billion and a major portion of which was repaid.
Although, a Christian by birth- President Chavez had rightly kept the Church at bay from politics and had also tried to keep Latin American Sovereignty out of IMF and the World
Bank, which are US proteges and also from Europe. The Western Press also vilified him.
His Chavismo policy is reflective of Late President, Mr. Franklin Roosevelt’s “New Deal” and he introduced progressive Income Tax, Public Works, Social Security and cheap electricity for the people of Venezula and made the lives of Venezuelans better in every sense of the term.. He wanted to replace the IMF with an International Humanitarian Bank on mutual cooperative basis.
He promoted liberty, equality and democracy, be it political, economic and social and was truly a people’s leader and a visionary.
His death at the age of 58, is a colossal loss to Latin America in general and Venezuela in particular. He has left a rich legacy of “Pan Latin Americanism”, which would survive him for a considerable period.
Ms.Nirmala P Rao
Legal Expert and Political Commentator