14ymedio/EFE, Madrid, 6 March 2023 — “Chávez and his compañeros in the struggle shook our continent and impacted the contemporary history of our America,” claimed General Raúl Castro this Sunday at the closing ceremony for the tenth anniversary of the death of Hugo Chávez. The former Cuban president knew how to thank the generosity of the deceased, from which the Island continues to consume at the rate of about 50,000 barrels of oil per month on average, and he praised the favorite son of the Cuban Revolution in Venezuela.
“His departure was very painful for us. Chávez was our brother in the struggle, who instantly won the sympathy of our people. (…) Very early Fidel saw in him a revolutionary leader and foresaw his political future, when many still did not even know him,” Raúl said at the event, held under the bombastic name of “World Meeting: Validity of the Bolivarian Thought of Commander Hugo Chávez in the 21st century.”
Castro, who traveled to Caracas, as did Rafael Correa, Evo Morales, Daniel Ortega, Manuel Zelaya and Luis Arce, among others, referred at length to the friendship between his brother Fidel and the “eternal commander,” who shared, he said, the idea “that victory exists as long as you fight for it.”
“They didn’t stop planning how to turn their dreams into reality. (…) Fidel and Chávez linked their ideas with that colossal ability to think big,” he added. He also explained that Maduro and Chávez himself frequently visited his older brother, giving him “love and affection” during his illness, which was reciprocated by the leader of the Revolution during Chávez’s medical treatment in Havana.
“He set goals that also point the way for us,” Castro insisted in his speech. We have been marked by Chávez.” There was no lack among the general’s words of the always-present reproach against the United States for “the continuous imperialist aggressions against the Bolivarian Revolution, to overthrow it,” although he praised the “ability of the people and the Bolivarian leadership to resist.”
The event was headed by Nicolás Maduro who requested that they maintain the political, ideological, moral union and ward off any “divisionist force.”
“There are always destructive forces (…) that intend to blur the path of resistance of the revolution, that intend to take advantage of the difficulties (…). The people have to say No very clearly to these forces (…) and take care of the political union, the ideological union, the spiritual union, the moral union of our people,” he said.
The current Venezuelan leader said that, despite the ten years without the physical presence of his predecessor, “there has been a permanent presence of his ideal, his revolutionary drive and the sworn commitment to advance in the construction of the free, independent, sovereign, socialist homeland.”
“Who knows about the difficulties our people have, the threats, aggressions, criminal sanctions, and they believed, the American empire, that they could impose their colonial model on our country. But we have said very clearly, colonial model no, free homeland yes (…) that’s how we are shaping the path for the years to come,” he added.
Earlier, the ruling party paid another tribute to Hugo Chávez in the barracks from which he led the 1992 coup d’état against then Venezuelan president, Carlos Andrés Pérez.
In the Cuartel de la Montaña, an old military museum renamed Fourth of February in honor of the date in 1992 when, from its premises, Chávez led the coup d’état, members of the Government and sympathizers of the man who governed the destinies of Venezuela until 2013 remembered his legacy.
“We have the enormous commitment, 10 years after the physical departure of our commander, (to) continue strengthening popular unity, the vanguard of the revolution in Venezuela and beyond, because this is an internationalist project,” said the Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba, Adán Chávez, brother of the deceased president.
Thousands of Chávez supporters attended the event. “Today I come here to honor our eternal commander Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías, the man who woke up the Venezuelan people, the man who told the people that yes, there is love here,” said Francisco Morillo, a Venezuelan interviewed by the EFE agency who was grateful to Chávez for “waking up the Venezuelan people” and ratified his support for the current president, Nicolás Maduro.
The last ten years, said María Eugenia Barrios, another attendee, have been “a very hard battle,” but Maduro “has been overcoming each of the difficulties to benefit us, to continue with the legacy and responsibility that Commander Chávez left him.”
Chávez died on March 5, 2013 at the age of 58, a victim of a cancer for which he was treated for months in Cuba.
Translated by Regina Anavy
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