Hugo Chavez, Presente


The Good Ones

©2013 by Alice Walker
March 5, 2013
For Hugo Chavez, Presente
The good ones
who listen
to women
to children and the poor
die too soon,
their lives bedeviled
by opposition:
our hearts grieve for them.
This was the world my father knew.
A poor man
he saw good men come and mostly go;
leaving behind
the stranded and bereft.
People of hopes, dreams, and so much
hard work!
Yearning for a future
But today
you write me all is well
even though the admirable
Hugo Chavez
has died this afternoon.
Never again will we hear that voice
of reasoned anger
and disgust
of passionate vision
and of triumph.
This is true.
But what a lot he did in his 58 years!
You say.
What a mighty ruckus
Hugo Chavez made!
This is also true.
Thank you for reminding me.
That though life –
this never-ending loop-
has passed us by today
but carried off
in death
a hero
of the masses
it is his spirit
of fiercely outspoken
that is not lost.
That inheritance
has gone instantly
into the people
to whom he listened
and it is there
that we will expect it
to rise
as early as
and there
we will encounter it
soon again.
Hugo Chavez’s funeral was today in Venezuela. Chavez leaves behind a complex legacy; standing up for what he thought was right, championing the cause of the poor, not caring about who he offended. He led Latin America away from neo-liberal economic policies and therefore was often pegged as an “enemy” of the United States. He called George W. Bush the devil, cursed Israel, and often denounced what he saw as the hypocrisy of these two nations who decry terrorism when done by people they don’t agree with and support terrorism when committed by “legitimate” actors.
What does his death mean for Nicaragua? Venezuela has developed a oil-sharing relationship with various Latin American countries. Chavez was seen by Nicaraguans as a kind of “godfather” whose goodwill allowed the Ortega government to continue important social programs and subsidize transportation costs. Many Nicaraguans who support the Sandinista government are mourning Chavez’s death, but we’ve also encountered other Nicaraguans who, although they don’t support the current Nicaraguan government, feel like Chavez did a lot to help Nicaragua through trade agreements that are mutually beneficial to both countries. It will be interesting to see what will happen when Venezuela elects a new president next month and how that election will affect Nicaraguans.
On the other hand, many question whether the positive changes that Chavez made in Venezuela and the positive cooperation he fomented between Latin American countries will outlive the man himself. Chavez had a huge personality and people saw him as a benevolent father who single handedly changed the fate of many struggling Venezuelan people. Can this “godfather” or “strong-man” style of leadership be a positive one if the “godfather” is just and does more good than harm? Hugo Chavez’s legacy and the future path that Venezuela takes now that he’s gone should be a good indicator.
For more on the subject:
Democracy Now – Hugo Chávez Dead: Transformed Venezuela & Survived U.S.-Backed Coup, Now Leaves Uncertainty Behind
The Onion – Area Man Unsure If He’s Supposed To Want Hugo Chavez To Die Or Not
Venezuela Analysis – Yo Soy Chavez, Tu Eres Chavez, Todos Somos Chavez (IN ENGLISH)
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2 Comments on “Hugo Chavez, Presente”

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