Latin American’s remaining leftist leaders honored late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chávez at a meeting on Monday, omitting his legacy of authoritarianism, economic mismanagement, and the worst humanitarian crisis in the country’s history.
Regional leaders – including Venezuela’s Nicolás Maduro, Cuba’s Raul Castro, Nicaragua’s Daniel Ortega, Dominica’s Roosevelt Skerrit, and Bolivia’s Evo Morales – congregated at a meeting in Caracas of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) to mark five years since Chávez’s death.
“Five years ago I had to give the hardest news of my life. Five years later we remember Chavez, no longer with tears, but with a smile and commitment to the future of the Fatherland,” Maduro declared during the summit.
“Today with more security and strength than ever we say that the Venezuelan people are more Chavista than ever. Chávez lives!” he continued. “On Sunday, May 20th we will have elections. We are deciding between peace and violence; democracy or coups; between the independence or the submission of the Fatherland.”
— Cancillería 🇻 (@CancilleriaVE) March 5, 2018
Chávez’s legacy of mass government spending and declaring war on the majority of the country’s institutions faces more criticism than ever as the country continues to suffer the worst humanitarian crisis in its history and Maduro, his chosen successor, pushes Venezuela towards totalitarianism.
Leaders in attendance reaffirmed their support for the Maduro regime, despite its erosion of democratic legitimacy over the past year with multiple fraudulent elections and the creation of a “national constituent assembly,” which stripped away the power of elected lawmakers and replaced them with pro-government supporters.
In contrast to the small number of leaders at the ALBA summit, regional powers including Colombia and Peru have backed efforts by the United States to pressure the Maduro regime through sanctions against the country’s oil industry and government officials.
“We proclaim the unwavering support for the Bolivarian Revolution and the civic-military union of its people commanded by comrade Nicolas Maduro,” Raúl Castro said at the summit. “The United States since 1999 when Comandante Chavez has become president, they have resorted to methods of unconventional warfare in order to subdue this country, which owns enormous natural wealth.”
“We see clearly the attempt to delegitimize the revolutionary process of Venezuela that has been advancing in spite of challenges and difficulties,” added Daniel Ortega. “In the face of violence, the people have always called for peace.”
Latin America’s “Pink Tide,” which saw the election of multiple left-wing leaders in the majority of its countries, was spearheaded by Chávez who sought greater regional integration based on his anti-imperialist ideals.
However, the tide has now all but faded away with the rise of multiple right-leaning leaders such as Argentina’s Mauricio Macri, Brazil’s Michel Temer, Peru’s Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and Chile’s Sebastian Piñera.