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Venezuela in transition: What Next after Hugo Chavez

“Chavismo” – Its Meaning and Interpretation

During the fourteen years of Hugo Chavez’s Presidency, Valenzuela was country driven by his personality more than his policies. This gave birth to a term called “Chavismo”, normally used by political commentators and contemporary historians.

In attempt to describe the meaning contained in word “Chavismo”, I would say that Chavismo didn’t encompass the political machine alone , but also a leftist ideology that, prioritized the redistribution of oil wealth to the marginalized and valued, sovereignty as something to be protected from “imperialist” powers.

Now which path will “Chavismo'” will tread can not be predicted with certainty. This is not for the first time that a powerful leader has departed. History of serious geographies are full the incidents in history. As per the testimony of History, it can be inferred, that as many other powerful leaders who departed creating a vacuum have seen their ideologies live on, though not without change.

Professor Javier Corrales, a professor of political science at Amherst College who studies Venezuela expresses his opinion with words as in quotes ahead “there is a trade-off between the degree to which a government centers, on one person, and the strength of that country’s institutions. ” Perhaps due to it being a complete sum, i.e., one, the stronger the central figure will turn, the weaker will be the fortunes of institution. It has been observed over the years, in history of nations, that any society or nation lands in crisis if it were being ruled (or governed) more by the personality of the leader than his policies and ideologies.

Hugo Chavez, a democratically elected, had to face the accusation of being authoritarianism, as his style of governance made his opponents feel that he is attempting to consolidate all the power in the presidency.

Hugo Chavez’s transformation into Everlasting Personality

The world has seen many able and honest administrations and rulers (some elected democratically, some princely in origin, some who took power with coercion, and many more of the kind ), but not all of them achieve a status of hero or legend. Such leaders are rare, but once they are there, the people do not let them go in their life time. This is irrespective of the policies adopted by such rulers.

Policies of such leader may not stand the test time, economy, prudence and other such words; despite of this such leaders have longer reigns (tenure) as compared to rulers whose policies may best fit the tests mentioned at the start of this sentence.

Perhaps, it were one of his most criticized policy by economists, who went even to the level of dubbing it as unsustainable, that earned him the status of Hero and further metamorphosed in what is now known as “Chavismo”.

It was Chavez’s dedication to putting the nation’s poor at the forefront of his policies, which made him a hero among a large sector of the population. His opponents criticized him for his freewheeling spending of oil wealth of the nations, but Venezuela’s poor saw results and elevated Chavez to hero status.

Millions of poor saw and found hope in Hugo Chavez, as they believed that this man can make earn a decent life. This hope and expectation of million of people of Venezuela is looking into the void that has resulted due to departure of their most cherished leader.

The issue haunting the ruling class, opposition and others in Venezuela most is: 1) that who will appropriate his image, 2) how his image can be used beneficially. Probably it seems that the Venezuela’s opposition may attempt to retain some aspects of legacy that has been left by Chavez and claim it to be their own. This inference is being drawn based the way opposition designed it’s last year’s electoral campaign where they promised that social missions initiated by Hugo Chavez will not be undone, they will just be fine tuned to make them more efficient and effective.

One can also deduce the same if (s)he has monitored or followed the tweets from Luis Vicente Leon, Director, Daranalisi (a polling firm). He too predicted similar thing in his tweets even prior to Hugo Chavez’s Death.

Such status, specially in Latin America means a lot. It is something that never disappears with the person who has earned such status but lasts much longer due to the weight it carries. Often it has been seen that politicians normally manipulate memories of such individual leaders, to serve their political purposes and benefits, and same may turn out the fate of Hugo Chavez too in very near future. What ever may be the fate of legacy earned and left behind by Hugo Chavez, but his memory would be a lasting one in the hearts and minds of people of Venezuela.

Two other individuals (leaders) who earned such Status in Latin America. though are no more but they are still present in the memories of people and also in expressed ideologies of some political parties (may be for their own political benefit than anything else).

Sandinismo: Augusto Sandino was the leader of a rebellion in the late 1920s and early 1930s against an American occupation. Years after Sandino was killed, Nicaraguans used his image as a symbol in their own rebellion to overthrow a dictatorship. A movement, the Sandinista National Liberation Front, was born. The current Sandinista president uses the same symbol and movement, though it has been manipulated from earlier Sandinismo.The Sandinistas are in power even today in Nicaragua, under President Daniel Ortega, though the movement has little to do with its origins. it can be inferred that this movement in Nicaragua has survived over the years and is still in vogue.

Peronism: Peronism is a movement named after Argentine President Juan Peron. Juan Peron was one of Former Presidents of Argentine. His legacy has been claimed and manipulated over the years by parties both on the political right and left.

Fidel Castro: Change in Cuba was more subtle after the passing of the torch from Fidel Castro to his brother Raul Castro. The Castros share their communist views, but after the younger Castro took office, he purged some men and has since pursued policies to somewhat open up Cuba.

It seems that in the Popularity of Hugo Chavez combined with the outpouring of tributes in the wake of his death, make a Chavista victory likely in the new elections that must be called. Maduro was named by Chavez as his preferred successor and could easily win the election, but he will have to put the movement’s unity as his priority.

There are divisions within Chavismo that have come to light as Chavez’s health faded. Some stand behind Maduro, who is close with the Cuban regime, while others side with Diosdado Cabello, the National Assembly president who is more of a nationalist. Because Chavez was never sworn in for his latest terms, there is even a debate Maduroover which of the two, constitutionally, should be the interim president.

Indian Presence at the State Funeral of Hugo Chavez: India was represented by Mr. Sachin Pilot, Union Corporate Affairs Minister at Caracas.

Probably this too is one of things that make world go round………….

                                                                                                                      ————— Always Yours — As Usual — Saurabh Singh

Source: ViewsNext.Com

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