It was with great sadness that I learned of Hugo Chavez’s death several hours ago.
Mr Chavez, for all his faults, represented an idea, an idea that another, better, world is possible.
He pioneered the idea of a socialism for the 21st Century.
There are criticisms that can be made of his leadership, both as President of Venezuela and as a sort of de facto leader of the Latin American left – which in turn helped to inspire movements throughout the world.
For me, though, it is the idea which he represented which is his enduring legacy.
There will be regional and global consequences of his death, and I fully expect certain factions throughout Latin America, no doubt with the support, active or ‘passive’ of the USA, to try and rollback some of the gains that Chavez’s ‘Bolivarian’ socialist movement had made, be it in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Peru and elsewhere. Cuba, certainly, will be affected.
In a way his death transforms Chavez from a flawed and all-too-human into a pure ‘idea’ of this better world and the movement to build it.
I’ll write more tomorrow. For now though, I think the message should be one of, sure, mourn, but don’t let down ones guard, be watchful of the reaction and imperialist plots, and recommit oneself to building that better world.