Hugo Chavez was a controversial and much maligned character. Yet in spite of all the attempts by domestic rightwing and wealthy enemies and supposedly freedom-loving "liberal" states like Obama's USA to derail him, President Chavez won election after election certificated as free and fair by foreign observers such as the Carter Institute. And unlike many who have risen to power in his own and other countries, he stuck to his policies of redistributing wealth from the immensely rich to the poor and dispossessed, with those in poverty falling from 70% of the population to 23% during his terms of office. Tens of millions of ordinary Venezuelans have seen their lives transformed for the better by the socialist Bolivarian movement not only materially, but in terms of their dignity and political power.
He was the first of the new wave of left wing governments that have swept across Latin America, bringing democracy not only to the ballot box, but to the landless and the slums and factories as well - and that is why he was so hated, despised and assaulted by the rich and by the West. A champion of the people, a man of his word. He will be remembered and his legacy will live on.
Rest In Peace, El Comandante Hugo Chavez, 28 July 1954 – 5 March 2013.
More on Chavez' Venezuela here from October 2012, article in The Independent Newspaper by Owen Jones:
Full article here