The death of a small giant

Hugo Chavez at his last rally

He was hated, he was loved, a charismatic and controversial actor on the world stage has passed away.

It was not a coup, unpopularity or the West that should prove to be the end of Chavez, but cancer. Nicolás Maduro, Venezuelan vice president brought his nation and the world the news on a press conferance ealier tonight, clearly moved.

Chavez lived a life rich on events. The former soldier lead a failed coup against a rotten and corrupt regime. After release from prison, he built his political campaign on denouncing the corruption of the ruling class of Venezuela and western imperalism. In 1998 he won the presidential election with 52.40 per cent of the votes, he assumed office in February 1999. He held the office of president, winning the next elections, until his death. Radical and ambitious social reform programs and nationalisation of key industries become historic moves made by his government. Many of his project undoubtedly improved the lives of millions, giving access to education and healthcare, previously unaccessible by large parts of the population. On the international stage, he became one of the most characteristic and colourful heads of state. Not afraid of speaking his mind and to oppose the United States, he gaind both friends and allies. In Latin America he was a driving force behind co-operation behind left leaning states and empowering of the region.

Hugo Chavez leaves behind millions in morning and other millions selebrating across the world. In Venezuela his social programs are testemonials to his success and the rampant crime and inflation testemonials to his failure. One thing is certain, world politics has lost one of its most colourful characters.

He was a man of the people, and the people will carry him to his grave, as they rose to defend him in 2002 when the elites ousted him in a coup backed by Washington.
His funeral will most likely be a manifestation of his popularity among the lower classed in Venezuela.

The death of Chavez triggers a national election due to be held withing 30 days. Former bus driver and union man Maduro, vice president, is expected to win.


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