Assessing the legacy of Chávez

 

A chara, – You take the opportunity of the untimely and tragic death of Chávez to pen an editorial that repeats the same lies and assertions made by Fox, Sky, CNN, and other neo-liberal media outlets (March 7th). I believe this does nothing to enhance the standing of your respected publication.

While I accept that Venezuela like any other country has socio-economic problems that need and are being addressed, I take issue with some of your characterisations of the situation here: the following are the facts.

On “centralised power around himself” and “eliminating check and balances”: the 1999 Bolivarian constitution extended the three constitutional powers to five, adding the popular and the electoral ones. As a result, nationwide, local community councils have been created, honouring the constitutional mandate for participatory democracy.

On “intimidating independent media”: there are numerous anti-government newspapers, magazines, TV stations and other media outlets, which regularly ridicule Chávez and spread misinformation. This is the same opposition media who acted as a cheerleader for the attempted coup in 2002.

On “his foreign policy in opposition to US influence”: Chávez has been instrumental in consolidating Latin America integration through the creation of ALBA, UNASUR and the CELAC in opposition to the US-backed treaties such as NAFTA which were put in place solely to serve the interests of the US corporations to the detriment of local economies. US policy towards Latin America is tragically marked by its backing of coups-d’état and military dictatorships such as the ones in Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and armed interventions that devastated countries such as Granada, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Guatemala.

On “his brand of socialism”: Chávez’s socialism is a direct response to the right wing policies which had left millions in poverty. His legacy has been to rethink socialism and to put it into practice by tailoring and making it relevant in a Venezuelan context for the benefit and welfare of its peoples.

Finally, as I sit here the day after the state funeral and continue to watch the multitudes of Venezuelan citizens file past his casket to pay their respects, I can only imagine what a similar funeral would be of the leader of an Irish government who put the interest of the people before those of the banks, corporations and vested interests. – Is mise,

PEÁDAR

Ó FAIRCHEALLAIGH,

Guasdualito, Apure State,

Venezuela.