It was with great sadness that we received the news of the passing of President Hugo Chávezof Venezuela. As citizens of the world, we continue to draw hope and inspiration from the Bolivarian Revolution. It is a point of reference in the global resistance to the suffering imposed by governments, corporations and ruling classes – beginning with those of the United States and its massive military.
In the closing days of 2012, three members of IJAN had the privilege of visiting the Bolivarian Republic. They witnessed a people engaged in building a more just society and standing up to imperial domination. They saw the coming to fruition of a project of building nearly one thousand apartments for victims of natural disasters. This was in sharp contrast to the US experience in the aftermath of Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, when the government left the victims to fend for themselves, and treated as criminals those trying to escape the floods, even shooting refugees dead.
It was an incredibly empowering experience to visit a country where universal opposition to Zionism and support for the Palestinian struggle was the norm rather than the exception.
During the massacre in Gaza in 2008-09, President Chávez stood with the Palestinian people.Not merely calling for an end to Israel’s inhuman attack and occupation, he also expelled the Israeli ambassador in protest of what he aptly described as “state terrorism.” While US Zionists attacked him for his remarks, the Jewish community in Venezuela spoke out in his defense.
In May 2010, following the Israeli assault on the Gaza-bound flotilla which killed nine people, President Chávez, in a national broadcast, called Israel a “genocidal state,” and said that the Mossad was financing the Venezuelan opposition and trying to kill him. In the same speech, he sent “greetings and respect” to the local Jewish community. “They know they have our affection and respect,” he said. “I doubt very much that a Jewish Venezuelan would support such an atrocity.” These words stand out as Western leaders and their Zionist allies rush to identify Israel’s criminal regime with Jews and Judaism.
Under President Chávez, Venezuela provided a unique and irreplaceable international leadership. It opposed and often also provided alternatives to the rules of global capitalism and to the exploitation, militarism, occupation, colonization and racism that governments and ruling classes in the United States, Israel, and their allies practice against the world’s populations.
It is no wonder that millions globally, especially in Latin America, are mourning the death of the man they rightly call the President of the Poor. At Chávez’s tragically premature passing, we wish to acknowledge and appreciate his enormous contribution to the vast popular resistance to capitalism and imperialism in which we stand and to the struggle for universal human liberation that we uphold. We support the Venezuelan people in their continuing struggle to deepen the Bolivarian Revolution beyond the general election on 14 April, for the sake of all humanity.
Viva la Revolucion Bolivariana!