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Mar 062013
 

Many leaders worldwide have made statements regarding the news per numerous media sources worldwide of the death on March 5, 2013 of Hugo Chávez Frías. He was the President of Venezuela from 1999 until his identified death yesterday. Here are two statements made by identified leaders of the United States who reportedly have met him personally and apparently have come to know him. The basically brief statements have been taken in their entirety.

The following is from the “Carter Center” Website (https://www.cartercenter.org/news/pr/hugo-chavez-030513.html; obtained 3-6-2013) :

“Statement From Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter
on the Death of Hugo Chavez

 Rosalynn and I extend our condolences to the family of Hugo Chávez Frías.  We met Hugo Chávez when he was campaigning for president in 1998 and The Carter Center was invited to observe elections for the first time in Venezuela.  We returned often, for the 2000 elections, and then to facilitate dialogue during the political conflict of 2002-2004.  We came to know a man who expressed a vision to bring profound changes to his country to benefit especially those people who had felt neglected and marginalized.  Although we have not agreed with all of the methods followed by his government, we have never doubted Hugo Chávez’s commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.

President Chávez will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments and for his formidable communication skills and personal connection with supporters in his country and abroad to whom he gave hope and empowerment.  During his 14-year tenure, Chávez joined other leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean to create new forms of integration.  Venezuelan poverty rates were cut in half, and millions received identification documents for the first time allowing them to participate more effectively in their country’s economic and political life.

At the same time, we recognize the divisions created in the drive towards change in Venezuela and the need for national healing.  We hope that as Venezuelans mourn the passing of President Chávez and recall his positive legacies — especially the gains made for the poor and vulnerable — the political leaders will move the country forward by building a new consensus that ensures equal opportunities for all Venezuelans to participate in every aspect of national life.”

Here is a statement from Congressman Serrano (https://serrano.house.gov/press-release/serrano-%E2%80%9Cchavez-changed-conversation-latin-america%E2%80%9D; obtained 3-6-13) :

“Serrano: ‘Chavez Changed the Conversation In Latin America’

Mar 5, 2013 Issues: Latin America

Washington, DC – March 5, 2013 –Congressman José E. Serrano today mourned the death of President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

‘I met President Chavez in 2005 when he came to my district at my invitation,’ said Congressman Serrano. ‘His focus on the issues faced by the poor and disenfranchised in his country made him a truly revolutionary leader in the history of Latin America. He understood that after 400 years on the outside of the established power structure looking in, it was time that the poor had a chance at seeing their problems and issues addressed. His core belief was in the dignity and common humanity of all people in Venezuela and in the world.

‘When he visited, President Chavez offered a new type of program to the people of the Bronx. He had harnessed the power of his nation’s oil resources and was using their profits—through Citgo—to enact social spending programs. Now he offered people in the Bronx that were struggling economically the same deal. He would provide home heating oil at a huge discount, provided the savings were reinvested in programs that benefited the underserved and underprivileged. I am proud to report that we have benefited from that program ever since, with millions invested in our community through this program and through a grant program he set up.

‘Though President Chavez was accused of many things, it is important to remember that he was democratically-elected many times in elections that were declared free and fair by international monitors. Even today, people in North America seem unable to accept that Venezuelans had taken our admonitions to have democracy to heart and elected the leader of their choice. President Chavez carried out the programs that his constituents wanted enacted, and won reelection. This too was revolutionary in the history of Latin America, where coup d’etat have been historically a way of power changing hands—especially during the times of controversial leaders.

‘President Chavez was a controversial leader. But at his core he was a man who came from very little and used his unique talents and gifts to try to lift up the people and the communities that reflected his impoverished roots. He believed that the government of the country should be used to empower the masses, not the few. He understood democracy and basic human desires for a dignified life. His legacy in his nation, and in the hemisphere, will be assured as the people he inspired continue to strive for a better life for the poor and downtrodden.’

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Congressman José E. Serrano has represented The Bronx in Congress since 1990.”

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Louis DeCola, Jr.                                    © 2013 The Hygiology Post ®