Talk on the Meaning of Hugo Chavez

Obama did 2 things yesterday. He shed crocodile tears for the killing of children at another US school. All the while, in Afghanistan, every single day, 5 children are killed or wounded, every single day, thanks to US intervention in that country.

And let us remember, as we watch Obama wipe away his tears, that over 1 million Iraqi children have been killed because of US policy since 1991.

Second, in his never-ending project to drag his own name through the mud, Obama has just referred to Hugo Chavez as an authoritarian ruler who doesn’t sufficiently respect human rights.  And this comes from a US president who has legalized indefinite imprisonment without trial,  who has legalized assassination of American citizens without trial.

It is appropriate to remember today that President Hugo Chavez may have been the first world leader after 911 to go on TV, show a photo of Afghan children killed  by US bombs, protested “this slaughter of innocents” and added, “Fight terrorism yes. But not like this.”

What does Hugo Chavez mean to us?

I just came back from a political delegation to Colombia. Two years ago I was on one to Honduras. I went into offices and homes of political activists fighting for their country’s independence and for human rights. Whose pictures do we see on their walls? We see Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez. We see Bolivar and Che. These names are not just names of human beings. They are words that are synonyms for Latin American independence,  synonyms for dignity, courage, synonyms for love of the oppressed, synonyms for the struggle of all oppressed people.

Heroes like Hugo Chavez are rare. In our country, we have not seen the likes of him since the US government murdered Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.  Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez are symbols for the new world being born in Latin America. Their names will never die. Their names will inspire millions more to fight. The way we can best honor these men is by fighting to complete their mission.

Heroes like Hugo Chavez are rare. In the US, we have not seen the likes of him since the US government murdered Martin Luther King and Malcolm X.  Hugo Chavez is the symbol for the peoples of Latin America standing up to the Empire.  Just like Malcolm X had been the symbol of the Black peoples of the world standing to the Empire.

The name of Chavez will never die. His name will inspire millions more to fight. The way we can best honor Hugo Chavez is to firmly commit to fighting to complete his mission of building a socialist society and liberating the peoples from the Empire.

But Hugo Chavez is not a giant only because of his vision. We all share his vision. What makes him a giant is his courage. It is not easy to be courageous, especially when you have the choice of being comfortable instead.  At least since age 38, with his attempted coup in 1992, he repeatedly put his life on the line to improve the lives of humble people.  We may try to emulate his courage going toe to toe with the Empire day after day, year after year, but we find his kind of courage too demanding, too exhausting.  In those moments we can see what a giant of a human being we have lost in Hugo Chavez.

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