Chavez Remains with Us

Rosa Martinez

HAVANA TIMES — My home is still in mourning, and it has every reason to be. All the members of my family are mopping about the house with sad faces, and I share that pain. In less than 15 days we lost two friends of the family.

The first, Nicolas, was a neighbor who was closer to us than any relative who shared our genes. According to my parents, he had shared with us all the happy and sad moments we experienced as a family. He was their when my siblings were born, just as he was when I came into this world. Likewise, he was there at the death of my grandmother, the most beautiful woman in the world.

The second friend was Hugo Chavez, one of the main friends of Cuba and Latin America, who — after suffering cancer for two years — died at the military hospital in Caracas.

His people accompanied him during his illness, during his several surgeries and in his death. Millions of Venezuelans paraded in front of the coffin of the president to bid farewell to their commander in silence, with a gesture, a solemn look or in tears.

Many of us Cubans — like the millions of his admirers and followers in various countries, especially in Latin America — have cried for him.

But Chavez lives now more than ever, and this is known both by his followers and his detractors. I think the Venezuelan opposition and the scavenger empire would have preferred him alive after finding what his death has now triggered.

They knew he was loved, they knew he was a man of the people, they knew he was strong – but what they didn’t know is that he remains with us. He is immortal.

After a few days, my family and I tried to slowly adjust to life without Nicolas. We’ll have to learn to celebrate our birthdays without his jokes and his Mexican songs.

We leave the house and return home without seeing his smile or hearing his funny wisecracks always on the tip of his tongue. We’ll have to go days, months and years without him, without his friendship, without his love.

Today, Venezuela and the Chavistas are facing a difficult struggle against an economically strong opposition.

Chavez can’t speak to them personally. He can’t express his love for the people who rescued him and brought him to power on more than one occasion. He can’t sing his beloved national anthem or any other song. Nor can he warn his people of the danger posed by outside forces.

But none of that will be needed.

Venezuelans carry Chavez within them. No matter how many years pass, his speeches and phrases, his contributions to Venezuelan society, his improvements to the living standards of the poorest and his love for all people will not let him die.

Like the Venezuelan people, my family and I will go on with our work and our lives, but we’ll never forget those who were great companions and loyal friends.

One thought on “Chavez Remains with Us

  • The problem with public figures like Chavez is that as time goes on, the voice of his detractors will increase and his supporters, upon learning of his many defects will fall off. A part of his popularity while alive was sustained by his capacity to intimidate and suppress his opposition. As time goes on, Chavistas will find that his detractors are less intimidated and more likely to speak out their true dislike if not contempt for Chavez leadership style. The same reaction is taking place today among Libyans regarding Gaddafi and Iraqies regarding Sadam Hussein. Both of these dictators, like Chavez, were hugely popular when they were alive and in power. Consider how history has treated Lenin and Mao. While still revered for their revolutionary politics, there is little residual support which reflects the near deification they enjoyed immediately after they died. Chavez will not likely fare even as well as Mao and Lenin as Venezuelan politics does not make nearly the imprint on world consciousness as China or Russia.

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