Hugo Chavez

Two things you won't hear in many mainstream media obituaries of Hugo Chavez.

– Chavez’ oft-mocked paranoia about the US was justified, as the Second Bush Administration backed the 2002 coup attempt against him:

The failed coup in Venezuela was closely tied to senior officials in the US government, The Observer has established. They have long histories in the ‘dirty wars’ of the 1980s, and links to death squads working in Central America at that time.

Washington’s involvement in the turbulent events that briefly removed left-wing leader Hugo Chavez from power last weekend resurrects fears about US ambitions in the hemisphere.

It also also deepens doubts about policy in the region being made by appointees to the Bush administration, all of whom owe their careers to serving in the dirty wars under President Reagan.

One of them, Elliot Abrams, who gave a nod to the attempted Venezuelan coup, has a conviction for misleading Congress over the infamous Iran-Contra affair.

– Chavez did a very good job of helping the 99% of Venezuela, something even people opposed to him admitted, as reporter Greg Palast found during a trip to Caracas some years ago:

While trolling around the poor housing blocks of Caracas, I ran into a local, Arturo Quiran, a merchant seaman and no big fan of Chavez. But over a beer at his kitchen table, he told me,

“Fifteen years ago under [then-President] Carlos Andrés Pérez, there was a lot of oil money in Venezuela. The ‘oil boom’ we called it. Here in Venezuela there was a lot of money, but we didn’t see it.”

But then came Hugo Chavez, and now the poor in his neighborhood, he said, “get medical attention, free operations, x-rays, medicines; education also. People who never knew how to write now know how to sign their own papers.”

– One reason the neoliberals and neoconservatives who both worship at the altar of disaster capitalism hate him so much is that he got nations like Nicaragua and Bolivia and Cuba, among others, to join the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, or Alba for short, which is a cooperative partnership and mutual aid coalition. This alliance will outlive Chavez, and make it harder for economic feudalists of the Chicago School to recolonize the area.

That’s for starters.

Photo by Marcello Casal Jr./Abr released under a Creative Commons Attribution license.