Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has left a legacy of solidarity amongst the dispossessed and between the poorer nations. His commitment to the ideals of social justice, equality and democracy paved a way for the Bolivarian Revolution that has solidified relationships between the Latin American countries without the mediation and meddling of the imperialist United States of America.
During his first four years in office President Chavez played a pivotal role alongside then Cuban President Fidel Castro towards organisation of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America or ALBA.
This alliance has helped create a powerful progressive trading block of Latin American and Caribbean countries trading their mutual advantages, for example the original two signatories of the ALBA were Cuba and Venezuela wherein the former exchanged their expertise in the science of medicine for Venezuelan petroleum. Thus Cuba was able to meet its energy needs in the face of the draconian blockade by the USA while Venezuela was able to further its national objective of providing medical services to the country’s millions living under abject poverty. Indeed the trade and strong diplomatic relations between the ALBA countries has further led to development of the strong regional diplomatic relations between these countries and the other Latin American countries such as Argentina, Brazil and Chile.
Inside Venezuela, the legacy of President Chavez is reduction in extreme poverty from 40 to 7.2 percent. He did this by socialising the vast natural resources of Venezuela by firstly nationalizing the largest domestic oil company and then by renegotiating rates with the multi-national oil giants who were hitherto paying next to nothing under the so-called sweet-heart agreements signed with the political elites.
Outside of South America, President Chavez pursued the policy of principled opposition to neo-liberal, imperial, arbitrary, and militaristic objectives and measures of the USA and its allies.
For the first time in its history a Venezuelan president visited India and signed a number of agreements. His principled stand against all forms of the so-called “humanitarian intervention” was clearly articulated during the imperial attacks and invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Lebanon and Palestine. He opposed any military action against Iran and opposed the crippling sanctions that the people of Iran are currently facing.
In the end, the legacy of President Chavez would always be his unqualified commitment to social justice, solidarity amongst the poor and the dispossessed, and democracy, after all during his 14 years in power he did face polls 14 times and during the four national elections, certified by the independent election-watch groups as most fair, he won great majorities.
The Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians expresses its solidarity with the mourning Venezuelans in particular and Latin Americans in general. It also expresses its concerns over the imperialist propaganda machinery that sees in the death of this great man an opportunity to undo the gains made by the marginalized people of Venezuela and for subverting the regional solidarity.