By Prof. JOSE MARIA SISON
Chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, convey our most heartfelt condolences to the family of Comrade Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela and leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, and to the broad masses of the people of Venezuela.
We grieve his passing away but we are comforted by his achievements in the service of the people. We celebrate his legacy and we are confident that this will continue to inspire the people to exert greater revolutionary efforts and win greater victories on the revolutionary road of national and social liberation.
We honor Comrade Chavez for having upheld, defended and promoted national independence and socialism and for having raised the banner of Bolivarian Revolution in order to undertake major social, economic, political and cultural reforms to benefit the impoverished and toiling masses of workers and peasants, the women and indigenous people.
He will always be loved and remembered for the promulgation of a constitution beneficial to the people, the institution of participatory democratic councils, the nationalization of the oil and other key industries, the establishment of worker-managed cooperatives, a program of land reform, greatly increased government funding for health care, education and housing and the significant reduction of poverty.
We honor Comrade Chavez for having been an outstanding fighter against imperialism, for having opposed neoliberal economic policy and the wars of aggression unleashed by the US and NATO, for having defended peoples, nations, countries and governments under attack by imperialism and for having advocated socialism as the banner of the 21st century.
He will always be loved and remembered for the anti-imperialist foreign policy of his government. He maintained and developed close alliance with the Cuban and other governments assertive of national independence in Latin America. He was a key leader in Latin American and Caribbean cooperation. He was instrumental in establishing the Union of South American Nations, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas, the Bank of the South and the regional television network Telesur.
Comrade Chavez was able to score great achievements in domestic and foreign policy because he always relied on the support of the broad masses of the people, especially the workers and peasants. He led the people to take away from the imperialists and the local oligarchs control over the oil resources of his country and used the income to benefit the people and support the cooperation and development of countries subjected to imperialist plunder under the Washington Consensus.
He came from a working class family and experienced the pangs of hunger and poverty. To rise from dire social conditions, he entered the military academy and became a military officer. But he detested the ruling system of the local oligarchy subservient to US imperialism. He was determined to fight for national independence and social justice. Thus, he founded the clandestine Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement 200 (MBR-200) among military officers in the early 1980s in order to overthrow the ruling system.
The MBR-200 launched a coup d’etat in 1992 and failed. But the failed coup made known to the entire nation Hugo Chavez and what he and his movement stood for. After release from prison, he founded a social democratic party, the Fifth Republic Movement, and engaged in alliances with communist and other Left forces in order to obtain the presidency of Venezuela in the elections of 1998 and in subsequent elections up to 2012. He established the United Socialist Party of Venezuela as a democratic socialist party in 2007.
As president of Venezuela, Chavez was the target of a coup attempt in 2002 and ceaseless campaigns of vilification by the US and the Venezuelan reactionaries. But he always managed to emerge stronger than ever before. He belonged to and was inspired by the great Latin American tradition of patriotic military officers in the 19th century, like Simon Bolivar, Simon Rodriguez and Ezequiel Zamora and those military officers of the ruling system who took the road of revolution and anti-imperialism in the 20th century, like Luis Carlos Prestes of Brazil, Jacobo Guzman Arbenz of Guatemala, Juan Alvarado Velasco of Peru and Omar Herrera Torrijos of Panama.
We, the International League of Peoples’ Struggle, will always be inspired by the revolutionary example and deeds of Comrade Hugo Chavez in fighting for national and social liberation and in advocating the cause of socialism. We are ever grateful for his high sense of international solidarity and for extending political and moral support to our League. We are determined to always support the Bolivarian Revolution and to stay in close alliance and cooperation with the Bolivarian revolutionary forces and people.
Long live the memory and example of Comrade Hugo Chavez!
Long live the Bolivarian Revolution and the people of Venezuela!
Long live international solidarity for national and social liberation!