Chavez - mourn his death, celebrate his life

CWU general secretary, Billy Hayes, pays a moving tribute to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez after the much celebrated and controversial leader lost his battle with cancer this week.


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RIP Hugo Chavez

Like many millions of others around the world, we are deeply saddened to hear of the death of the Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez this week. Democratically elected with huge majorities in four separate elections, Chavez worked tirelessly to lift his people out of poverty, house the homeless, provide education for all and give all of the people a meaningful say in the running of their own country.

With his unique blend of egalitarianism, Bolivarism and populism, Chavez helped to inspire a new socialism for the 21st century and provided the spark that lit up the whole south American continent, as people awoke from many years of cruel and brutal military dictatorships to elect new, progressive governments throughout Latin America.

When Venezuela's wealthy oligarchs tried to return to the bad old days by launching a Pinochet-style military coup in 2002, the people stood strong and determined against them, defeated the attempt to end democracy and kept their elected president in office.

The wealthy and privileged could not defeat him, the interference of the US could not defeat him, but tragically, cancer has prematurely taken this great man's life.

This week, people all over the world have been expressing their sadness and sorrow at Chavez's death, and CWU sends our own sincere condolences to Chavez's family and to all the people of Venezuela at this time of mourning.

But we also celebrate Chavez's life, what he stood for, what he achieved and the many millions he inspired.

And we offer our full support to Nicolas Maduro, a former bus driver and union leader, who served as Chavez's vice-president and who, we understand, is likely to be the United Socialist Party candidate in the next presidential election.

"The only way to save the world is through socialism"

Rest in Peace Hugo Chavez.

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