HAVANA TIMES — The news has gone around the world …news that has broken the hearts of many Venezuelans and is certainly the beginning of a new revolutionary phase of a project that was born in the voice, heart, soul, mind and body of the president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias.
Death is a fact of life that, ironically, we experience at some point. Although we all know this, one can never be prepared for such an event.
The loss of a family member, a friend or a co-worker always affects us, giving birth to new reflective thoughts in the search to appreciate the air we breathe, the streets we walk and the struggles we engage in daily to improve this globe we call Earth.
On March 5, 2013, this leader of the Latin America struggle died – Hugo Chavez, the most emblematic world leader of this century.
Few people here have had the courage to express their opinions freely, ones so different from the capitalist and neoliberal policies that have been destroying our people, suffering the humiliation and poverty caused by those who claimed to defend them.
In Chavez was born an awakening; in him was born an era of change not only for Venezuela, but for the world. It began in the pearl of the Caribbean, the mother of Bolivar, and gradually it awakened the peoples of Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Nicaragua, Uruguay and other nations.
No other politician in the world today could have the glory of having the oratory skill of Hugo Chavez, whose voice, singing and political thought brought about the biggest demonstrations that any Venezuelan ever imagined.
He marked a before and after in national and international policy. He was seen by many as a “dictator” (people who don’t know the meaning of the word), while looked upon by others as a “God.” As for me, even in his death, Chavez is one of the greatest leaders the world has ever produced.
Unfortunately, though a soldier of battle, his true opposition was cancer. For him, there never really existed a decent political opposition with critical thinking that could cause him to doubt before any of his many triumphs.
As a Venezuelan, I have to say that I feel ashamed of some of those with whom I share the virtue of being born in this wonderful country – and this isn’t because they don’t feel the cruel and atrocious pain caused by such a sad death.
Rather, it’s because of the sadness caused within me after learning that — despite them calling themselves the “educated opposition, the brimming future” — they can’t respect the pain of others who are mourning the leader of the Americas, Hugo Chavez.
Perhaps it’s because of their lack of history and books. Out there one can hear the “opposition leader” Capriles giving a speech, not a speech, muttering some words that he had to read, a statement expressing his condolences. I wonder…does a true leader read speeches? I don’t think so. Does a cultured person express their condolences or thoughts by reading what others wrote? I don’t think so.
The death of our president will serve as fuel to generate the movement of the new phase of this revolution, which still has much room for improvement.
Being born in this country makes it my duty to be a thoughtful critic of the revolution in my country. I’m a person who will work hard and who is proud of having been born at the time of these changes.
I say this because even though some people deny it, Chavez was the one who returned the political voice to the people.
I had the opportunity to meet him and shake his hand. I had the opportunity to read his writings.
However, I must admit, at that time my juvenile mind was aligned with the opposition that lacked everything – with the same intellectual deficiency they still suffered from today.
Today I remembered those days and I sang the national anthem with tears in my eyes as I saw his body leave the military hospital, the hearse carrying the remains of the person who changed and built the path along which Venezuela will now travel.
Some people don’t understand the reason for the pain felt by our people. Some art lovers might feel like their thoughts are generating little short-circuits in seeing so many people walking along with this beloved man.
But they don’t have to understand, they don’t have to suffer. Nonetheless it’s their moment of vindication, and it’s time for those who say they have such “good upbringing” to express this and to show the respect that every human being deserves.
I feel much pride for being born at this time. My heart beats proudly for having been instilled with these values that today shape me as a human and as a thinking being who is able to call myself a fighter. So, with tears in my eyes, I’m writing for those who helped me to learn those lessons.
Glory is not gold or a diamond. Glory is sharing in building a better world for our peoples who lack so much.
*A 19-year-old Venezuelan living in Caracas.