The anti-imperialist and integrationist vision of Hugo Chávez is still more valid than ever 66 years after his birth
This Tuesday, July 28, commemorates the 66th anniversary of the birth of Commander Hugo Chávez Frías, historical leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, who promoted it from his triumph in the presidential elections of December 6, 1998 until his physical departure in 2013, leaving a broad legacy of social inclusion within the country and a new conception of international relations, focused on building a new world order more balanced and anti-imperialist.
“El Arañero de Sabaneta” (The Spider keeper of Sabaneta) was born in Barinas in 1954, as the second of the six children of the marriage formed by Hugo de los Reyes Chávez and Elena Frías, both primary school teachers. After completing basic instruction in his hometown, he graduated in 1975 of the Venezuelan Military Academy with the rank of second lieutenant.
On February 4, 1992, Hugo Chávez led, as a military commander, an armed insurrection against the government of Carlos Andrés Pérez and his package of neoliberal measures sponsored by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which he acknowledged was unsuccessful with his famous “for now”, being arrested, tried and sentenced to two years in prison at Yare prison (1992-1994).
In 1994, the management on duty agreed to dismiss the open process against Chávez and, upon his release, he left the army and entered fully into the political struggle; He founded the party Movimiento V República (MVR) and began touring the country explaining his proposals.
As President-elect in the 1998 elections with 56.2% of the votes, he immediately promoted the election of a Constituent Assembly in charge of drafting a new constitutional text, approved in a referendum in December 1999 and in July 2000 he savors again victory as Head of State for the period 2000-2006.
In internal politics, the management of the revolutionary leader focused on the social, creating a series of programs or “missions” aimed at paying off the debt with the historically excluded sectors, with a view to achieving the greatest amount of happiness possible for the people, following the ideology of the Liberator Simón Bolívar, his main ideological reference.
In relation to international management, President Chávez promoted with insightful interest and emphasis in his legendary speeches the vision of a multipolar and pluricentric world, Latin American and Caribbean integration, the strengthening of Venezuela’s position in the international economy as an energy power, greater interaction between the different integration processes and strategic alliances with politically related countries, such as Cuba, Iran, China and Russia.
His critical position regarding the role of the United Nations (UN) in the world context was firmly stated at the General Assembly meeting held on September 20, 2006:
“Today it is fully confirmed and I believe that almost nobody here in this room could stand up to defend it, to defend the United Nations system, let’s accept it honestly, the United Nations System born after the Second World War collapsed, collapsed, it is useless (…) They have turned this assembly into an organ merely deliberative, without any power to impact in the slightest way the terrible reality that the world lives.”
Commander Chávez was an enthusiastic promoter of new integrationist platforms and regional cooperation, such as the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – People’s Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), in 2004; Petrocaribe in 2005; Union of South American Nations (Unasur), in 2008 and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac), in 2010.
Among the many tributes awarded following his premature departure on March 5, 2013, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) baptized the name “Hugo Chávez” on April 7, 2014, its Action Plan for the Eradication of Hunger and Poverty, of a global scope.