Tuesday, March 05, 2013
Hugo Chavez Dies
Hugo Chavez has died of cancer at age 58.
His demise was reported by his vice president, Nicolas Maduro who said that Chavez passed away earlier today.
The vice president also called on the opposition to respect "the people's pain."
"Those who never supported the comandante Hugo Chavez, respect the pain of the people. This is the moment to think of our families, of our country."
Needless to say Maduro blamed the U.S. saying "we have no doubt" that Chavez's cancer, which was first diagnosed in June 2011, was induced by "the historical enemies of our homeland."
Considering how much President Obama liked Hugo Chavez, that's even more than most conspiracy theories.
Chavez was yet another authoritarian 'progressive' although he was at least honest enough to call what he was doing socialism, by which he meant nationalist socialism, with all that implies. Of course, like most socialist dictators, Chavez made sure to feather his own nest, amassing a personal fortune of over $2 billion.
Power to the people and Viva la revolucion..yeah, ri-ght.
After taking power in 1999, he did his best to assume dictatorial powers, but was fended off (just barely) by the fractious nature of Venezuela itself. He never quit managed to gain that all important consensus that would enable him to emulate his idols Stalin and Castro and obtain complete control, but what he managed was fairly close to it.
In the end he was just another strutting comic opera Latin American caudillo, for all his pretensions.
As for Venezuela, no one's really sure what happens next. Chavez left no clear successor, and while his United Socialist Party of Venezuela is more or less in control, the country's sharply polarized and the considerable opposition to Chavez could be used by a successor, perhaps Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles quite effectively. And of course, the eternal question is, which way will the army jump?