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Following the ideals of his hero, Simon Bolivar, President Hugo Chávez Friás long had a grand vision of a Bolivarian unity among the countries of South America, Central America, and the Caribbean.  His  long serving foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, now acting president of Venezuela, was the person who brought that vision to material reality.  In so doing, they may have walked off with some prime real estate -- the U.S.’s own backyard.

As a reported two million people lined the streets to accompany the body of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez Friás, to the Military Academy in Caracas where likely millions more stood in line for hours, if not days, to view his face one last time. Fifty-four international delegations, political leaders and heads of state arrived in Venezuela to attend the official state ceremony for the deceased president, 15 of whose countries had declared official days of mourning for him at home.  They were greeted by then vice president and now Acting President Nicolas Maduro.

The South, Central American and Caribbean countries in attendance gave witness to the impact the Chavez Administration has had on forging unity among them.
Representatives of the more than 33 countries belonging to MERCOSUR, UNOSUR, ALBA and CELAC appeared and credited Chavez’s vision and energy with establishing the equivalent of a new regional union, modeled after the European Union, south of the U.S. border, in what the U.S. formerly regarded as virtually its own territory.
 photo chavezfuneral_zps594f098c.jpg

It was an unprecedented display of international respect and admiration for President Chavez, a political leader who had repeatedly been demonized and called a “clown” and a “buffoon” by the U.S. State Department and its puppet media.  (Now, only days since Chavez’s death, that same reactionary media is scorning Chavez’s acting successor, Maduro, as a "burly one-time bus driver".  Expect more epithets to come.

The U.S. and many European governments were also fond of referring to President Chavez as a “dictator” or “strongman”, disregarding the obvious contradiction that Chavez had been elected by large national majorities to the Venezuelan presidency in 1998, 2000, 2006 and 2012, while winning a national recall referendum to remain president in 2004.  They now appear poised to tar Maduro with the same scurrilous brush.
 photo ChavezandMaduro_zps065428ad.jpg
Perhaps the most revealing proof that President Chavez was not a dictator by any stretch of the imagination occurred in 2007, when he lost, by less than 2% of the vote, a national referendum on his proposal to amend sections of Venezuela’s 1999 Constitution.  

Upon the announcement by the Venezuela's National Electoral Council of Chavez’s amendments defeat, President Chavez did not even ask for a re-count; he immediately accepted his loss and congratulated the opposition for their success.

But the 54 international delegations that appeared in Caracas on March 8, 2013, did not travel to President Chavez’s funeral simply to pay their respects to a good democrat, even one that succeeded in accomplishing the UN’s Millennium goals for his country by drastically reducing poverty, inequality, illiteracy and hunger there.

No, in many cases they came to mourn the passing of a personal friend. Chavez was a warm, sensitive, humane personality who frequently inspired deep friendships with those whose lives he touched, even among some who might be considered officially as enemies.  Thus it was with Colombia’s current president, Juan Manuel Santos.

Under Colombia’s former president, Alvaro Uribe, and his defense minister --now president -- Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia had invaded the sovereignty of neighboring Ecuador to kill a FARC hostage negotiator and his team, thus greatly setting back efforts to persuade the FARC opposition to release prisoners they held hostage in Colombia.  

Fearing a similar invasion of Venezuela, Chavez sent troops to the Venezuelan-Colombian frontier, to defend against a possible military incursion.  Ordinary international relations between the countries were shredded, ambassadors were withdrawn, and even common citizens obstructed from their usual cross-border trade.

That the U.S. and Colombia’s Uribe had recently signed an agreement to set up 7 new U.S. military bases on Colombia’s territory, several of which were obviously targeted at Venezuela’s vast oil resources in its frontier provinces of Zulia and Tachira, added to the extreme tension. (The U.S. military base agreement was later ruled unconstitutional by Colombia’s Supreme Court.)  

When President Uribe was held to be term-limited from running for re-election, his Defense Minister, Santos, ran in his stead and was elected.  Relations with Venezuela were at their nadir when Santos took office in 2010. (President Uribe has since admitted that, as president, he had had actual plans for military incursions into Venezuela, presumably with U.S. approval, but ran out of time to carry them out.)

But, with Santos’s election – much to the world’s surprise (and undoubtedly to the U.S.’s dismay) -- a series of meetings between President Chavez and President Santos and their foreign ministers yielded a mending of their countries’ relations, such that even joint projects to fight drug trafficking and to share energy resources were initiated.  

Good relations resumed between Venezuela and Colombia. Colombia’s foreign minister, Maria Angela Holguin, was routinely heard from in Caracas, reporting successful negotiations with the Chavez government’s Maduro on a number of mutual issues.  Upon Chavez’s death, she expressed what appeared to be heartfelt regret at his passing.

President Santos himself appeared shaken by Chavez’s loss, even crediting him with making the peace negotiations with Colombia’s FARC opposition a reality:

“In merit to his dedication and unlimited commitment, we have been able to advance in a solid peace process” said the Colombian leader in a national address on television, emphasizing that the best homage to Chavez is “to accomplish the dream he shared with us: an agreement to end decades of armed conflict and see a Colombia living in peace”.
“Chavez used to say that this was what the great Liberator Simon Bolivar wanted to see and he was right” said the Colombian president emphasizing that Chavez’ death is a “great loss for Venezuela, for the region, for Colombia and for me particularly”.  
In gratitude for Chavez peace offices in the first contacts that facilitated dialogue between his government and the FARC guerrillas, Santos pledged full support for Venezuela in this new chapter.
“You can be sure that you have our full support so that Venezuela can have a democratic transition in peace and calm. We will walk along with you, as you have accompanied us in the peace process”, promised Santos.
http://en.mercopress.com/...
It was not only Chávez’s gracious personality that managed to turn his past enemies into friends, but the astute negotiating skills attributable to his then foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro, that not only brought Colombia’s opposing forces to the peace table after more than 50 years of strife, but also successfully forged a new unity among South and Central American countries through the establishment of the UNASUR and CELAC organizations, Latin America’s equivalent to the European Union.  

In so doing, Chavez and Maduro may have severely limited the U.S.’s hegemony over all of South and Central America and the Caribbean countries.

Chavez and Maduro first carved out an independent voice for South American countries through pushing for the the creation of UNASUR, in 2008.  Then the countries of Central America and the Caribbean were added to the chorus of South American voices, with the Venezuelan propelled creation of CELAC, in 2011.

CELAC stands for the Community of Latin American and Caribbean states and is the regional bloc of Latin American and Caribbean states created on December, 3, 2011, in Caracas, Venezuela by 33 countries of the Americas by the signing of the Declaration of Caracas.  Those 33 countries represent roughly 600 million people of the Americas. (The U.S., Canada, the United Kingdom and the territories belonging to France, Netherlands, and Denmark were not invited to join CELAC.)

In July 2010, the 33 CELAC countries selected President of Venezuela Hugo Chávez and President of Chile, Sebastián Piñeras of the forum to draft statutes for the organization. This year, President Raul Castro of Castro was selected to chair the organization.
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In their January, 2013 meeting, CELAC leaders thanked the then ailing and absent,  Chavez for his efforts to initiate their organization, the honors were led by the conservative president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera.

CELAC is the outgrowth of the decade-long push by Chavez and Maduro for deeper unity among the countries of the Americas, for a union which could act on the world stage with the power similar to that of the European Union.

The Declaration of Caracas was effectively a “Declaration of Independence” against U.S. domination of the Americas via its conduit of control, the Organization of American States (OAS). The OAS was created primarily by the U.S. in 1948 to enforce its hegemony over its southern neighbors and isolate them from Soviet influence.   Recently, the U.S. has used the OAS to act as a brake on the independent policies of its socialist or left-leaning southern neighbors. CELAC may soon make the now almost moribund OAS even deader.

As such, it could fulfill the dream of Latin America’s great liberator, Simon Bolivar, a dream successfully made manifest by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez Frias through the work of his foreign minister, Nicolas Maduro.
 photo bonnie_chavezobit_zpsd10af610.jpg
As Nicolas Maduro met the many foreign dignitaries arriving for President Chavez’s funeral, he was greeting those he had personally worked and negotiated with since his appointment as foreign minister in 2006.  Virtually every participant country in MERCOSUR, UNASUR, ALBA and CELAC sent its highest leader to mourn Chávez's passing:  among others, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Uruguay, even the questionably installed (following a coup) president of Honduras, Porfirio Lobo Sosa, was in attendance.  The equally questionably installed (by legislative coup)  Federico Franco of Paraguay was not, although his democratically elected predecessor, President Fernando Lugo, appeared in person to farewell President Chavez.

For almost seven years, as Venezuela’s foreign Minister, Maduro, while supervising over 63 embassies around the world, took the lead in successfully negotiating the terms of the new unities of UNASUR and CELAC, as well as many other bi-lateral treaties.

Maduro's diplomacy, beginning in 2006,  also included hammering out the terms of the ALBA (Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas) organization, the socialist alternative to the U.S.’s proposed “Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTTA). ALBA, an international cooperation organization originally formed by Venezuela and Cuba based on a vision of mutual economic aid and bartering, now includes Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Saint Lucia. Haiti has indicated an intention to join as well.   ALBA has established its own banking system with the “Sucre” as its new international currency and provided development funds without the self-serving, often strangling, “free market” austerity conditions of the International Monetary Fund.

In conducting all these various negotiations, Maduro has forged strong personal relationships with key figures in many other countries which will serve Venezuela well should he be elected in April, as appears likely.

Maduro not only has extensive foreign policy experience, but he has served as Speaker of Venezuela’s National Assembly as an elected member of that body between 2000 and 2005, previously he participated in the drafting of the 1999 Constitution as a member of its Constituent Assembly in 1999. In earlier days, he was a bus driver and trade unionist with the workers of the Caracas Metro bus system, and an early supporter and confident of President Hugo Chávez Friás.  

On December 8, 2012, Chavez announced to the nation that he would undergo another cancer surgery in Cuba and urged the nation to support the election of Nicolas Maduro as president should he himself be unable to continue to serve.  On March 6, 2013, President Chavez died after a two year battle against cancer.

On April 14, 2013, Maduro will be the presidential candidate of the Venezuelan Socialist Party (PSUV) against current Miranda State governor and defeated presidential candidate in 2012, Henrique Capriles Radonski.  

It may well be that, if elected, Nicolas Maduro, a staunch socialist, will be a major force for countering the imperialist aspirations of the U.S. capitalists and its global fellow-travelers, not only in the U.S.’s “back yard”, but as far afield as Africa and Asia.  Chavez and Maduro have already spoken publicly of the need for African-American unity and made official efforts in that direction, with visits by Chavez and a doubling of the number of Venezuelan embassies there.

Such an African-Americas unity could further serve to throw U.S. imperialism under the bus. Chavez is no longer here, but Nicolas Maduro is an experienced and burly bus driver with an excellent sense of direction, as he has already well demonstrated.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (32+ / 0-)

    Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

    by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:00:19 PM PDT

  •  Tonight's anti-capitalist meetup (12+ / 0-)

    has been re-posted to:

    Wild Wild Left: http://www.wildwildleft.com/...

    The Stars Hollow Gazette:
    http://www.thestarshollowgazette.com/...

    Firedoglake: http://my.firedoglake.com/...

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:16:58 PM PDT

  •  Anti-Capitalist Meetup Schedule (11+ / 0-)

    March

    24th: Geminijen
    31st: Annieli

    April

    7th: either NY brit expat or Working Words
    14th: ny brit expat(?) depends on above
    21st:
    28th:

    May:

    5th:
    12th:
    19th:
    26th:

    Hi fellow travellers! As you can see we have some dates open and we have been having a great series this month and more is coming. But we need people for April and beyond. If you can write something, please volunteer to do so. This group functions only if people can write something now and then for us or you will be stuck listening to the admin go on an on (NY brit expat, Justina, TPau, Geminijen, LeGauchiste). Please reply here or send a private message to ny brit expat on dkos or send a message to our email account: dkanticapitalistgroup@gmail.com

    In solidarity!

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:23:47 PM PDT

    •  The Internationale (9+ / 0-)
      Arise ye workers from your slumbers
      Arise ye prisoners of want
      For reason in revolt now thunders
      And at last ends the age of cant.
      Away with all your superstitions
      Servile masses arise, arise
      We'll change henceforth the old tradition
      And spurn the dust to win the prize.

      So comrades, come rally
      And the last fight let us face
      The Internationale unites the human race.

      No more deluded by reaction
      On tyrants only we'll make war
      The soldiers too will take strike action
      They'll break ranks and fight no more
      And if those cannibals keep trying
      To sacrifice us to their pride
      They soon shall hear the bullets flying
      We'll shoot the generals on our own side.

      So comrades, come rally
      And the last fight let us face
      The Internationale unites the human race.

      No saviour from on high delivers
      No faith have we in prince or peer
      Our own right hand the chains must shiver
      Chains of hatred, greed and fear
      E'er the thieves will out with their booty
      And give to all a happier lot.
      Each at the forge must do their duty
      And we'll strike while the iron is hot.

      So comrades, come rally
      And the last fight let us face
      The Internationale unites the human race.

      •  Damn Right! Unites the Human Race! (10+ / 0-)

        President Chavez was a very great revolutionary, but I think he was an even greater teacher for the revolution.

        Telesur TV interviewed literally hundreds and hundreds of people who lined the streets of Caracas to honor Chavez and share their grief.

        What stood out for me was that so very many of them were able to articulate, very expressively, the socialist ideals that Chavez represented in a political sense.  His ideas and values will live on for a long, long time.

        The world has lost a very great man, but in Latin America his ideas will never die.

        Would that Americans could have heard more of his speeches in English.  This would have demolished the U.S. State Department and its puppet media's falsification of his personality and actions. But he was so dangerous to them, I guess they had no alternative but to lie about him.

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

        by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:22:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  friendly amendment: editorial group(s)? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, TPau

      it would seem that if you designate more editors rather than contributors from those listed in the membership, that editorial / thematic divisions of labor might give greater thematic form / content and consequently participation in scheduling / programming. Or perhaps this has been discussed before and I missed it.

      Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 Acedia is essentially a flight from the world that leads to not caring even that one does not care

      by annieli on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:48:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  that is a good idea ... we hadn't changed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        annieli, Justina, TPau

        things from when they started, but if contributor/members are interested in becoming editors, I think we should discuss this. What do people think? Perhaps, those who have written for the group a couple of times would be interested. What do people think?

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:11:11 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I would support this proposal by annieli (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annieli, Justina, TPau, Le Gauchiste

          slightly amended so that those becoming editors have posted a few times, if Annieli considers that to be a friendly amendment. What do people think? Is anyone interested and what do you think of the proposal?

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:29:49 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  am interested in (4+ / 0-)

            cultural capital and economic geography issues as well as postmodern(sic) marxism. Also, an editorial group that might serve as a weekly marxiological reading group for Marx's writings (as part of the Readers & Book Lovers group) would be useful as well.

            Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 Acedia is essentially a flight from the world that leads to not caring even that one does not care

            by annieli on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:35:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  that would be amazing! (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Justina, annieli, JayRaye

              we have tried to do a reading group several times on Marx's writings ... we tried on the Grundrisse and Capital; but it was hard to keep going. We need volunteers to help do this, what do people think? This cannot be done by the admin alone, it would require participation by a number of people. I would love to do something like that as I really enjoyed the Haiti book diaries run by Allie123, I learned a lot. But it takes effort and a lot of work.

              "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

              by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:41:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Editors (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NY brit expat, JayRaye

            What would these editors be doing?

            I like the idea of developing a collective anti-capitalist blog, and would gladly participate in it.

            This is a really good diary; there's just not much to argue about, you know?

            "Karl Marx and Frederick Engels came to the checkout at the 7-11 Marx was skint - but he had sense Engels lent him the necessary pence What have we got? Yeh-o, magnificence!!" (The Clash, 1976-1983)

            by Le Gauchiste on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:24:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Annieli has made several good suggestions (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              JayRaye

              1) people could be responsible for the reading group
              2) they could be responsible for specific areas for posts

              I am sure that others have ideas, I also thought that they could participate in designing the direction of the group. Literally, the admin has just been doing admin tasks like organising the diaries, sending emails, reposting, doing a horrible job of maintaining the facebook page. It would be nice to divide tasks so that we all can participate. I would really like a collective anti-capitalist blog! We could actually have sub-editors that take care of different areas or activities of the anti-capitalist groups. I am just throwing out ideas ... what do you think? That is what a collective is ...

              "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

              by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:34:09 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  Is it ok to post a writer who also has an economic (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, Justina, JayRaye

      column f his own (essentially a report) since he covers much of the same stuff we do once in awhile if we like a particular piece he is doing and only if he is there for the discussion? Or is this too derivtive?)

      •  I do not think that we can legally due to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Justina, Geminijen, JayRaye

        copyright reasons, simply post the piece someone has done. But what can be done which will make things legal is that we write something around that ... so that a piece can be written which contains the video (e.g., David Harvey, Richard Wolfe) or the piece that has been written and we comment and write around it. So, as such, we use the writing, but add something to it. Much like your excellent piece on fund-sharing.

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:13:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  argh! stupid brain ... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JayRaye

          not due, but legally do that due to copyright reasons ... or is that stupid fingers?

          "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

          by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:35:48 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  With Proper Permissions, It's Possible. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat, JayRaye

          The author or copy right holder can give permissions to those who want to re-print their work.  See the Creative Commons explanation of that on www.venezuelanalysis for example.  

          I think a difficulty with this could be that the author of a given piece might not always be available to comment at the time the work is re-published, which could diminish the liveliness of the discussion.

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:49:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  actually this is a person who wants us to repost. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat, JayRaye
          •  that is not a problem! that is fine! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JayRaye, Pluto

            We can do it in one of two ways:

            1) he signs up to dkos and posts it himself;
            2) it is posted under one of the admin accounts and it is explicitly stated that the author has asked us to repost it for him.

            I was more worried about doing it without permission; that is not a problem at all. I misunderstood what you were talking about

            "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

            by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 06:06:22 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Never bored by the admin diaries (5+ / 0-)

      I do know, however, how much time, research, and effort these diaries take.  But you are helping some of us with our education, what the Right, and I suspect even some of the regulars here on DKos, probably think is indoctrination of socialism and a Third Party Way.  

      It is neither.  I think this group is more "awake" than many of the others here, and brings refreshing, multi-faceted, viewpoints for our consideration.

      Thanks

      Just waitin' around for the new Amy Winehouse album

      by jarbyus on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:57:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The people in the admin and our contributors (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JayRaye, Pluto

        (and hopefully some editors if they volunteer) come from a broad range of the hard-left; we are social democrats, we are marxists of various perspectives and we are anarchists of various perspectives. I am so proud to be a part of this group and you have just made me smile!

        Perhaps I can persuade you to write something for us Jarybus? It can be on any topic you want, the only thing that we ask is that it comes from an anti-capitalist perspective of your choice. :)

        "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

        by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:12:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for Your Supportive Comment! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NY brit expat, JayRaye

        Would be great if you could contribute a diary too!

        Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

        by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:27:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hm.... NY brit Expat Sensed a Fellow Writer Too! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          NY brit expat, JayRaye

          And no, we didn't even consult on this!

          Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

          by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:28:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  It will be interesting (12+ / 0-)

    to see if Maduro succeeds in his own right. Media in both the US and UK have portrayed Chavez as someone like Hussain or Kim Jong Il, not as someone who was capable of supporting his people to the extent of putting a system in place to replace him.
    I appreciate analysis from someone who has first hand experience of what the situation in Venezuela might be going forward.

    "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

    by northsylvania on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:29:38 PM PDT

    •  Been Watching Maduro For Last Six Years. (11+ / 0-)

      I am very impressed by him.  He is a very competent guy who seems to get along very well with folks inside and outside of Venezuela.

      Maduro has a temperate temperament.  He has been more emotionally expressive since President Chavez died, which is understandable since he worked closely with Chavez starting with the failure of Chavez led military rebellion in 1992.  They were very close both politically and personally.  Chavez's death was a terrible personal loss to Maduro, but he managed to hold himself together throughout the long funeral services and manage the ceremonies.

      Maduro virtually never left the side of Chavez's casket during the 7 hour procession from the Military Hospital to the Military Academy where the funeral services took place.  Then, at the ceremony, he gave a great speech, without consulting a single note.  This is one sensitive but very emotionally stable guy.

      Maduro is married to Cilia Flores, an important figure in her right.  She was the lawyer who got President Chavez pardoned after he spent two years in jail for his abortive uprising.  Since then she has served as an elected member of the National Assembly, then as Speaker of the Assembly (the first woman to do so), and then as Procuraduria General, one of the top Constitutional offices.  Her powers are more extensive than our own Attorney General.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:11:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Welcome back Justina!!! (11+ / 0-)

    and with an excellent piece of analysis as well, but that I have come to expect!

    So many have watched the funeral of Chavez and have mourned his loss and have sent their solidarity to the people of Venezuela. I am certain that I am not the only one that watches with worry about what the actions of the US government will be and whether we will see an attempted revival of the US "presence" in the region of Latin America after the government has lost so much power there.

    It may well be that, if elected, Nicolas Maduro, a staunch socialist, will be a major force for countering the imperialist aspirations of the U.S. capitalists and its global fellow-travelers, not only in the U.S.’s “back yard”, but as far afield as Africa and Asia.  Chavez and Maduro have already spoken publicly of the need for African-American unity and made official efforts in that direction, with visits by Chavez and a doubling of the number of Venezuelan embassies there.  

    Such an African-Americas unity could further serve to throw U.S. imperialism under the bus. Chavez is no longer here, but Nicolas Maduro is an experienced and burly bus driver with an excellent sense of direction, as he has already well demonstrated.

    I am certain many of us here are hoping that the words here are prophetic. Can I ask if you have any idea about polling in Venezuela on the next elections and the level of support Maduro has?

    "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

    by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:36:56 PM PDT

    •  Maduro Leading Massively in Venezuelan Polls. (10+ / 0-)

      From the TV and newspaper reports I've read, Maduro is the predicted winner by a substantial margin.  Obviously, this could change, but the requirements of the Venezuelan Constitution requires a very short time frame.  President Chavez died on March 6th and the election will take place on April 14th.  The short time frame definitely favors Maduro.

      So too, the massive, massive out-pouring of grief by the Venezuelan people suggests that his hoped for replacement is very likely to win.

      Naturally, the U.S. will do all it can to besmirch Maduro, as well as pour money into the opposition coffers.  Never minding the fact that this is illegal under Venezuelan law.  The CIA will likely be up to its old dirty tricks there as well, but the support for Chavez's policies is huge, and Chavez's Socialist Party just won 20 or 23 state governor positions, an election in which President Chavez did not campaign.  (And a sympathetic governor is handy to have when an election rolls around.  Just ask George Bush.)

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:50:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Justina thank you for an excellent piece - I think (10+ / 0-)

        you really captured the essense of Chavez and the Bolivarian revolution. I esspecially liked the way you focused on 1)how he handled difficulties like Columbia and his democratic response to his failure to pass very foward looking and controversial reforms in 2008 (which i believe he did pass in 2010 after another educational campaign to inform the electorate as to why these reforms are importnt) and 2)emphasis on and discussion of the various international structures he set up to unify Latin American.  I believe it is his international efforts that will assure the continuation of the Bolivarian revolution --Chavez was one of the most extraordinary, generous and universalist leaders in recent years and it it his commitment to all the workers in the world that will stand him in good stead.  
        (P.S. that includes workers in the South  Bronx in New York City who received discounted oil from the Bolivarian government and were able to sleep a little warmer this cold winter. Chavez will live on in those institutions he created.
         

  •  After (5+ / 0-)

    the middle of May, the multiple upheavals in the West country will hopefully have resolved somewhat. I'll go for the 19th

    "We are monkeys with money and guns". Tom Waits

    by northsylvania on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:37:47 PM PDT

  •  thanks for including a North-South perspective (5+ / 0-)
    It may well be that, if elected, Nicolas Maduro, a staunch socialist, will be a major force for countering the imperialist aspirations of the U.S. capitalists and its global fellow-travelers, not only in the U.S.’s “back yard”, but as far afield as Africa and Asia.  Chavez and Maduro have already spoken publicly of the need for African-American unity and made official efforts in that direction, with visits by Chavez and a doubling of the number of Venezuelan embassies there.

    Warning - some snark above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 Acedia is essentially a flight from the world that leads to not caring even that one does not care

    by annieli on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 03:43:27 PM PDT

    •  Making Connections Can Re-Make the World. (6+ / 0-)

      In writing this article, I was frankly astonished at seeing how much President Chavez and Foreign Minister Maduro had accomplished in 14 years.

      They had a dream and made it reality.

      Hopefully Maduro will be able to effect the same type of unity with Africa, even countries in Asia.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:42:36 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The US media reportage about Chavez tells (12+ / 0-)

    way more about the US media than it does about Chavez. I wish Maduro and the Venezuelan people well, but they will surely continue to be trashed by the US press and the US government. It's pretty damned shameful. but I guess it's no more shameful than practically everything else about the US press and the US government. I was a child the last time I was able to be proud to be an American...and then it was mostly ignorance.

    Thanks for the diary Justina.

  •  We've seen what happens to those that try to (6+ / 0-)

    stay independent of the Empire, they get taken down, terrorists and mercenaries flood the country, the CIA, MI6, Mossad and others do their thing, oppositions are funded and armed, sanctions are placed, and the countries are destabilized, terrorized, threatened, and manipulated.  Certainly the Neocons see a big chance here with Chavez gone. The Obama admin has typically followed the same agenda.  We're going to see if South and Central America and AFrica can break the imperialist cycle of destruction, poverty, and debt to the world central banks.  The odds can only favor them if their is unity and the western ruling class certainly know that.  That's a large part of what Iraq, Syria, and Libya were about.  

    "The Global War OF Terror is a justification for U.S. Imperialism. It must be stopped."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:31:05 PM PDT

    •  Wide Net of Alliances Can Defeat Imperialism. (9+ / 0-)

      The right wings in Ecuador and Bolivia tried very hard -- with U.S. assistance -- to bring down those nascent socialist governments, but the countries of South American came together through UNASUR and stopped them.

      Even Colombia's Uribe and Santos were forced to back track, even to apologize, for their attack on Ecuador.  This demonstrates how very important the united voice of Latin America (and other places in the world potentially) can be.

      Look at Cuba as well.  The U.S. has tried to destroy them for years, but increasingly, due to the unity of Latin American countries, the U.S. looks ony ridiculous.  That is one of the reasons that President Raul Castro's selection to chair the CELAC group is so important.  That means that at huge swath of South and Central American countries-- at least 33 countries -- are flat-out ignoring the demands of the U.S. to sanction Cuba.  Even there former best friend, Colombia, has joined the other side.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:59:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is an exceptional summary (9+ / 0-)

    ...of the remarkable events that have taken place over the past decade, severing the dark tendrils of US hegemony and political chaos from the emerging sovereign nations of the world. Chavez will be long honored as one of the great leaders in the move toward global freedom from US military coercion and violence.

    I especially liked the descriptions of this events, which ultimately saved South America from nation-destroying interventions by the United States:

    That the U.S. and Colombia’s Uribe had recently signed an agreement to set up 7 new U.S. military bases on Colombia’s territory, several of which were obviously targeted at Venezuela’s vast oil resources in its frontier provinces of Zulia and Tachira, added to the extreme tension. (The U.S. military base agreement was later ruled unconstitutional by Colombia’s Supreme Court.)  

    When President Uribe was held to be term-limited from running for re-election, his Defense Minister, Santos, ran in his stead and was elected.  (President Uribe has since admitted that, as president, he had had actual plans for military incursions into Venezuela, presumably with U.S. approval, but ran out of time to carry them out.)

    But, with Santos’s election – much to the world’s surprise (and undoubtedly to the U.S.’s dismay) -- a series of meetings between President Chavez and President Santos and their foreign ministers yielded a mending of their countries’ relations....

    Interestingly, Americans know little to nothing of the fact that South American has a sovereign Union, much like Europe, ever growing stronger. The OAS was a blight upon the Americas -- and its virtual eradication brings the world closer to peace:
    CELAC is the outgrowth of the decade-long push by Chavez and Maduro for deeper unity among the countries of the Americas, for a union which could act on the world stage with the power similar to that of the European Union.

    The Declaration of Caracas was effectively a “Declaration of Independence” against U.S. domination of the Americas via its conduit of control, the Organization of American States (OAS).

    The OAS was created primarily by the U.S. in 1948 to enforce its hegemony over its southern neighbors and isolate them from Soviet influence.  Recently, the U.S. has used the OAS to act as a brake on the independent policies of its socialist or left-leaning southern neighbors. CELAC may soon make the now almost moribund OAS even deader.

    If these ideas can take hold in Africa before AFRICOM destroys the entire continent and seizes its resources for the private corporations -- in order to prevent China from continuing its business relationship with the African nations -- there will be hope for all the world.

    I'm not as worried about Asia. They know exactly what the US is about.

    It may well be that, if elected, Nicolas Maduro, a staunch socialist, will be a major force for countering the imperialist aspirations of the U.S. capitalists and its global fellow-travelers, not only in the U.S.’s “back yard”, but as far afield as Africa and Asia.  

    Chavez and Maduro have already spoken publicly of the need for African-American unity and made official efforts in that direction, with visits by Chavez and a doubling of the number of Venezuelan embassies there.

    Such an African-Americas unity could further serve to throw U.S. imperialism under the bus. Chavez is no longer here, but Nicolas Maduro is an experienced and burly bus driver with an excellent sense of direction, as he has already well demonstrated.

    Thanks for such an excellent essay.



    Denial is a drug.

    by Pluto on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 04:37:32 PM PDT

  •  I don't think that all of those 33... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FG

    ...regional leaders were genuinely devastated at Chavez's passing.  Overall I'd guess 12 were and the rest were just showing the regard they would show to any departed fellow leader.  (My 12 from south to north: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Cuba, and I'm throwing in three unnamed Caribbean countries because I don't really know their politics.)  Santos warmed to Chavez but I don't think he'll miss him.  I'd put Leonel Fernandez in that category too--he just gets on with everyone. That guy is going to run the UN someday.

    I thought it was interesting that the crowd booed Sebastian Pinera...booing Prince Felipe I can understand, because his dad once told Chavez to shut up, but what's their gripe with Pinera besides being a billionaire?  

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 05:52:00 PM PDT

  •  you must've been very upset (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    PhilK

    that Chavez's body rotted so much that he couldn't be embalmed in that time honored tradition of such luminaries and brilliant heroes of the people as Lenin and Mao. He really had high aspirations for his death.

    •  you are really way out of line (5+ / 0-)

      you are being aggressive and quite honestly it is inappropriate; did you wait until discussion had died down just to say your charming statement? Why are you here? Surely there is another place for you to spew your venom.

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:21:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't wait (0+ / 0-)

        I simply just logged on and noticed this diary. I think it's quite valid and not at all venomous to laugh when it was discovered that he was too decomposed to be embalmed. Probably even died in Cuba that not even the Russian scientists could do much.

        It was amusing that they wanted him to go the way of the most murderous of our civilization's tyrants. But he was just not on par.

  •  Just got home from work, but had to check in! (6+ / 0-)

    Great diary, Justina! Gives me hope for the future.

    Knew a young woman who spent some time in Venezuela. While there she got sick. Went to the neighborhood clinic (she says there's one in every neighborhood.)

    Here's what they didn't do: ask for ID, ask if she was a citizen, ask for money or insurance info.

    And she didn't have to wait for hours either.

    They simply gave her the treatment needed!

    Oh that terrible Chavez, Oh that terrible oppressive socialism!

    I apologize if I've told this story before.
    But perhaps bears repeating.

    WE NEVER FORGET For March: Francis Estep, UMWA Martyr

    by JayRaye on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:11:29 PM PDT

    •  It is an important story, something that (6+ / 0-)

      bears repeating ... health care provided w/o any information or money demanded at the point of contact; that is what health care is supposed to be! That is what Americans need, but they have been terrified into the evils of socialism ... thank you JayRaye!

      "Hegel noticed somewhere that all great world history facts and people so to speak twice occur. He forgot to add: the one time as tragedy, the other time as farce" Karl Marx, The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte .

      by NY brit expat on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 07:23:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I Found the Mission Adentro Clinics Excellent. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye

      My free neighborhood provided a wonderful service to me and my neighbors.  What a relief not to worry about walking out with a huge medical bill!  There were no bills at all.  The clinics even had free dental services.  Optical centers provided free examinations and two pair of free glasses a year.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 04:53:56 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  excellent diary and posted to Facebook (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NY brit expat, JayRaye, Pluto

    without the ants the rainforest dies

    by aliasalias on Sun Mar 17, 2013 at 09:56:24 PM PDT

  •  thank you for diary (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NY brit expat, JayRaye, Justina, Pluto

    I have to add that Puerto Rico is looking to become part of the CELAC now that the anti US statehood party won the 2012 elections (the only time Hugo Chavez visited Puerto Rico, back in 2001, was when this same party was in power).

  •  Excellant piece (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Justina, Pluto, NY brit expat, JayRaye

    It should be required reading for every member of Congress and the State Department.
    I firmly believe that the future of the Americas is in Latin America and I urge young people to emigrate because there is no future for them in the USA.  If I was younger and in better health I would go now.
    I wish all Latin Americans the very best and hope they will be able to resist the the dirty tricks that are sure to come from the US Corporate Empire.

    •  As of April 12, 2012 (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      NY brit expat, Justina, JayRaye

      ...since the Summit of the Americas -- attended by President Obama -- the US and Canada are no longer considered part of the Americas.

      Emigration is essential for the young. They have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose.



      Denial is a drug.

      by Pluto on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 03:55:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Agree! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JayRaye

      I think South and Central America will play a very important role in the world as the U.S.'s empire diminishes.

      I'm hoping my 27 year old son, who is under-employed in a job far afield from his college major, will "Go South, Young Man, Go South".  

      I am now living in Nicaragua and finding it a very, very pleasant place to be.

      Convict Bush, Cheney and their torture cabal. Support universal health care,unions, WikiLeaks and Occupy Wall Street! Time for a totally new, democratic economic system. Turn the corporations into worker cooperatives!

      by Justina on Mon Mar 18, 2013 at 04:49:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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