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The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

The Student News Site of California State University, Stanislaus

Signal

President Hugo Chavez dead, Venezuela mourns

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died of a massive heart attack late last Wednesday evening after battling pelvic cancer for the final two years of his life.
Former vice president Nicolas Maduro now assumes the role of interim president.
Venezuelan citizens still mourn the loss of Chavez, widely acknowledged as the people’s president. Americans, however, are left with mixed reactions.
As a young boy, Chavez was kicked out of a classroom because he could not afford shoes. His story is one of a man born into absolute poverty who made the journey to political eminence.
Robinson Arroyo, Modesto mechanic and Venezuela native, shared his thoughts on Chavez’s death.
“Imagine the economy in recent years here [in the U.S.] ten times worse,” Arroyo said. “That’s how bad things were in Venezuela.”
Venezuelans have shown great appreciation for Chavez’s populist notions. He has consistently been referred to as the man who destroyed the power of the wealthy elite to aid the poor through housing programs, education reforms and universal healthcare.
“He completely shifted the scale and the citizens are grateful for that,” Arroyo said.
“He was an incredible leader. He did so much for the people. He did too much.”
While many Venezuelans praise his self-proclaimed socialist agenda, his anti-American sentiment has left a sour taste in the mouths of some Americans.
“The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species,” Chavez said in a 2006 United Nations speech.
In the same speech he referred to former President George W. Bush as “the devil.”
America’s post World War II foreign policy has defined its quest for globalized interests. This open-door policy is exactly what Chavez was driven to avoid.
“The biggest problem Venezuela faced was not that Chavez was authoritarian, but that he wasn’t authoritarian enough,” Dr. Greg Grandin, Professor of History at New York University, said.
Despite his constant confrontation with American globalization, Venezuelan citizens favored his regime changes.
“By privatizing the oil refineries, Chavez was able to keep the money within the country,” Arroyo said. “To fill up your tank there is literally cents.”
The magnetic and unrivaled master orator’s legacy will live on, as to his followers he will forever be their “comandante.”

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President Hugo Chavez dead, Venezuela mourns