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Generational Dynamics Web Log for 6-Mar-2013
6-Mar-13 World View -- Venezuela's mestizo president Hugo Chavez dies of cancer

Web Log - March, 2013

6-Mar-13 World View -- Venezuela's mestizo president Hugo Chavez dies of cancer

Venezuela accuses America of conspiracy to kill Hugo Chavez

This morning's key headlines from

Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez dies of cancer at 58

Hugo Chávez (Trome)
Hugo Chávez (Trome)

Venezuela's people were stunned Tuesday by the news from vice president Nicolas Maduro that president Hugo Chávez had died. Maduro cried and had tears running down his face as he announced that Chávez died at 4:25 pm local time (3:55 pm ET) "after battling hard against an illness for nearly two years." Chávez has not appeared in public since his fourth cancer treatment in Cuba in December. When he returned to Venezuela on February 11, his supporters were overjoyed, though some wondered if he was returning home to die. It now appears that was the case, although the reason for his death was not announced.

According to Venezuela's constitution, there must be a new election within 30 days. The military has announced that will enforce the constitution, and not permit chaos to ensue. Chávez has previously anointed Maduro as his successor. Maduro is a hard-core anti-American socialist like Chávez, but he's entirely lacking in Chávez's charisma. The man that Chávez defeated in last year's election, the youthful Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles, is expected to run against Maduro.

Chávez has said that he considers Cuba's Fidel Castro to be like a father to him, and a lot of people expected Chávez to live longer than Castro, who is still alive but unwell. The two socialists forged a close relationship, especially when Cuba's rich sponsor, the Soviet Union, collapsed, ending Russian subsidies to Cuba. But Venezuela stepped in with its own subsidies. Maduro will undoubtedly wish to continue the subsidies to Cuba, but without Chávez's charisma, and with a faltering Venezuelan economy, he may be forced to back down. AP and BBC

Venezuela accuses America of conspiracy to kill Hugo Chávez

Several hours prior to the death of Venezuela's president Hugo Chávez, vice president Nicolas Maduro gave a vitriolic press conference blaming "imperial forces," particularly from the United States, of a conspiracy to kill Chávez. The accusation stems from remarks made by Chávez himself in December 2011. Chávez made his remarks the day after Argentina's president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced she had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer. Recent years have seen a series of leftwing Latin America leaders diagnosed with cancer, including Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, Paraguay's Fernando Lugo, and the former Brazilian leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. According to Chávez, in a speech broadcast on live TV:

"Would it be so strange that they've invented the technology to spread cancer and we won't know about it for 50 years?

I don't know but … it is very odd than we have seen Lugo affected by cancer, Dilma when she was [presidential] candidate, me, going into an election year, not long ago Lula and now Cristina.

It is very hard to explain, even with the law of probabilities, what has been happening to some leaders in Latin America. It's at the very least strange, very strange. Evo take care of yourself. Correa, be careful. We just don't know. Fidel always told me, 'Chávez take care. These people have developed technology. You are very careless. Take care what you eat, what they give you to eat … a little needle and they inject you with I don't know what.'"

According to Maduro on Tuesday, there will be an investigation to see whether Chávez was inoculated with the cancer that killed him. Maduro announced that one of the alleged conspirators, US Defense Attaché David del Mónaco, was the mastermind of the plot, and "He has been evicted; he has 24 hours to leave Venezuela; our armed forces should be respected; we have forwarded a legal notice to the US government." El Universal and Guardian (December 2011)

Chávez became a hero to the mestizo majority

Racism is a big problem throughout Latin America, based on three population sources: The indigenous "Amerindians" that have been around for centuries prior to 1492; Christopher Columbus made his first visit in 1492, and led the European invasion and colonization of Latin America; and black Africans were brought into Latin America originally as slaves. Intermarriage among these groups has dulled the boundaries. Offspring of European-African marriages are called "mulattos," and offspring of European-Amerindian marriages are called "mestizos." Of course, further intermarriage dulled even these divisions, and in Venezuela today, the word "mestizo" for anyone who isn't a "pure" European white. (There's also a "pure" indigenous population, but it's small, around 2%.)

The Spanish colonized and took control of most of Latin America. The first leader to defeat the Spanish was Simón Bolívar. Here's a brief history of Simón Bolívar from the Bolivar, Missouri, web site:

"Simon Bolivar (1783-1830)

Simon Bolivar was one of South America's greatest generals. His victories over the Spaniards won independence for Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. He is called El Liberator (The Liberator) and the "George Washington of South America."

Bolivar was born in July 24, 1783, at Caracas, Venezuela. His parents died when he was a child and he inherited a fortune. As a young man, he traveled in Europe.

As he returned to Venezuela, Bolivar joined the group of patriots that seized Caracas in 1810 and proclaimed independence from Spain. He went to Great Britain in search of aid, but could get only a promise of British neutrality. When he returned to Venezuela, and took command of a patriot army, he recaptured Caracas in 1813 from the Spaniards.

The Spaniards forced Bolivar to retreat from Venezuela to New Granada (now Colombia), also at war with Spain. He took command of a Colombian force and captured Bogota in 1814. The patriots, however, lacked men and supplies, and new defeats led Bolivar to flee to Jamaica. In Haiti he gathered a force that landed in Venezuela in 1816, and took Angostra (now Ciudad Bolivar). He also became dictator there.

Bolivar marched into New Granada in 1819. He defeated the Spaniards in Boyar in 1819, liberating the territory of Colombia. He then returned to Angostura and led the congress that organized the original republic of Colombia (now Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Venezuela). Bolivar became its first president on December 17, 1819.

Bolivar crushed the Spanish army at Carabobo in Venezuela on June 24, 1821. Next, he marched into Ecuador and added that territory to the new Colombian republic. After a meeting in 1822 with another great liberator, Bolivar became dictator of Peru. His army won a victory over the Spaniards at Auacucho in 1824, which needed Spanish power in South America. Upper Peru became a separate state, named Bolivia in Bolivar's honor, in 1825. The constitution, which he drew up for Bolivia, is one of his most important political pronouncements."

Venezuela's last crisis war was shared with Colombia, where most of the genocide and destruction took place. It took place from 1948-58, and was known as "La Violencia," or the Colombian Revolt. More than 200,000 persons lost their lives and more than a billion dollars of property damage was done.

Until the last few decades, Venezuelan social structure was quite rigidly organized along class and racial lines, with a small number of direct white European descendants as a market and government dominant minority. Hugo Chávez, himself a mestizo, considered himself to be the new Simón Bolívar, and began the Bolivarian movement in the 1990s. He defeated the élite European descendants, and used Venezuela's oil wealth to make himself a hero to the mestizo majority. Country Studies - Venezuela and Bolivar history and On War - La Violencia

(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the 6-Mar-13 World View -- Venezuela's mestizo president Hugo Chavez dies of cancer thread of the Generational Dynamics forum. Comments may be posted anonymously.) (6-Mar-2013) Permanent Link
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