The Legacy of Hugo Chavez – Social Justice & Latin American Unity
Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela, died on Tuesday 5th March. Since then the media has been filled with stories attacking him and denying the achievements of the revolution he led.
The elite of Venezuela, accustomed to running Venezuela for their own benefit and that of their US backers, view the man repeatedly elected by the Venezuelan people with contempt. The racism of this elite who have portrayed Chavez’s supporters as monkeys is so pervasive that Colin Powell had to publicly reprimand the US embassy for hosting an event where Chavez was represented as a gorilla. The man who kept winning elections, and accepted the result when he lost a referendum, is portrayed in the US press as a tyrant. The privately owned media that haven’t been shut down, accuse him of suppressing freedom. Political figures in the US and UK, who supported the military coup against him, call him a despot. The truth, as the Washington Post reported, is that his death ‘..led to an outpouring of grief from the poor masses..’.
Venezuela’s economy has grown strongly for the last 2 years after being hit by the international recession and despite being a major oil exporter, the bulk of growth is not in the oil sector. Spending on education has risen from 3.9% of GDP in 1998 to 7% today. Enrollment in higher education has more than trebled, illiteracy has been almost eliminated, and Venezuelans have free access to health care. Last year Venezuela built more than 250,000 social houses.
Women have benefitted from the Bolivarian revolution. 70% of those active in community councils and 63% of mayors are women. Legislation passed in 2008 raised the proportion of women at regional government level from 18% to 50%. These political advances are based on a huge progress in the social position of women and will serve to further improve women’s rights.
Operation Miracle, run by Venezuela and Cuba, has provided free eye sight saving operations to people across the region. Venezuela has been instrumental in moving the continent out of the clutches of the US. It has encouraged anti‑imperialist leaderships in Bolivia and Ecuador and materially supported integration and independence across Latin America and the Caribbean.
For more information or if you want to get involved go to Venezuela Solidarity Campaign