When I read that Hugo Chavez passed away. I was surprised that the New York Times had anything good to say about him. The story was perhaps the best reporting that they have done about the man since he took office. It seems a shame that someone like Chavez had to die in order that a U.S. publication could finally say something good about him.
Chavez was a great American leader (yes folks, we aren’t the only Americans on Earth). He was a leader that actually did the things he promised his people that he would do. Literacy in Venezuela was 100% and the poor actually became better off under Chavez than any other leader in their history.
He made sure that the people in the barrios received deeds for their property. He had portions of their Constitution printed on the packages of consumer goods. He ran elections that were fair and balanced. He was a Socialist to be sure, but he was also on the side of Democracy, something that our leaders can’t seem to manage.
Chavez will leave a void that will surely be missed. We can only hope that the United States stays out of the politics in that nation and allows the Venezuelan people to decide their own future without our county’s interference. I can only hope that we learned our lesson in the coup that removed Chavez from power before the people rose up and had him reinstated.
I am in awe of the life of Hugo Chavez and I make no apologies for respecting that life. Instead of vilifying him, Americans should be aware that it was Chavez and the people of Venezuela that first offered aid after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and it was Chavez that offered heating oil to the poor of the American Northeast.
Obama could learn what leadership really could be by studying the life of Chavez. In fact, we could all learn from his life and try to understand why he made such a deep connection with the people of his nation. The only thing I can say about him is Viva Chavez!
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|William T. Hathaway|