The Death of Hugo Chavez; Reactions from Immortal Technique, Cynthia Mckinney & More

Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez

There’s a lot to be said about Hugo Chavez,  the President of Venezuela who passed away yesterday from complications due to cancer.. For many he was considered a friend and a champion of the poor. He was seen as a hero who was willing to stand up to the United States and other western  powers who have an egregious record in South America of undermining democratically elected leaders..

Two movies.. Harvest of Empire and South of the Border bring US policies out in painful detail.. They show how private companies and media outlets including our own CNN worked overtime to try and overthrow governments throughout Latin America. You can see in the clip that starts off South of the Border  the round the clock demonization of South American leaders by our so-called esteemed media..

It’s important to understand our policies and what doesn’t get reported here in the states when viewing Hugo Chavez. A lot of what he did and didn’t do centers around the desire to see him removed from office by our own government..

It’s also important to understand that while Chavez was a charismatic singular face attached to Venezuela in terms of how he’s depicted here, in Latin America, he was part of a large movement. In short , he didn’t obtain his position in a vacuum. Nor can you explain Chavez or Venezuela in a 30 second sound bite..

Shortly after getting the news that he passed we broke into regular programming on KPFA and gathered up some folks to speak to Chavez and his legacy.. Our roundtable of guest are movers and shakers in a variety of circles and knew Chavez  or did lots of ground work in the country over the years..

CynthiaMckinneyred-225Our first guest was former Green Party Presidential candidate and congresswoman Cynthia McKinney..She set the tone by breaking down US foreign policy in Latin America and the great lengths our government has gone to try and undermine leaders they didn’t like. McKinney talked at length about Cointel-pro and what has happened to leaders domestically, hence we should not be shocked at the type of hostilities shown internationally..She also talked about Chavez and what he meant to his people as well as sharing her own stories about him…Here’s our interview..

Who Can Stop the DrumsWe spoke with author and Professor Sujatha Fernandes who wrote the ground breaking book ‘Who Can Stop the Drums? Urban Social Movements in Chávez’s Venezuela‘ .. Here Professor Fernandes reveals a significant dimension of political life in Venezuela since President Hugo Chávez was elected. Fernandes traces the histories of the barrios, from the guerrilla insurgency, movements against displacement, and cultural resistance of the 1960s and 1970s, through the debt crisis of the early 1980s and the neoliberal reforms that followed, to the Chávez period.

During our interview with myself and fellow KPFA host Mitch Jeserich, Fernandes provides additional keen insights around what life on the ground was like for the average Venezuelan and the impact Chavez’s policies had on folks..She also speaks to why Chavez had been and will continue to be demonized here in the US..

Venezuela SpeaksAlso on the line with us and Fernandes was Carlos Martinez who lived in Venezuela and is the co-editor of the book Venezuela Speaks; Voices from the Grassroots. Here Martinez and his co-editors  gathered a collection of interviews with activists and participants from across Venezuela’s social movements. From community media to land reform; cooperatives to communal councils, from the labor movement to the Afro-Venezuelan network, Venezuela Speaks! sheds light on the complex realities within the Bolivarian Revolution. These interviews offer a compelling oral history of Venezuela’s democratic revolution, from the bottom up.

During our interview, Martinez put the work he’s done into context and further expounded upon why Hugo Chavez was important and his overall impact on the region..

You can peep their interview here…

Click HERE to listen to our Breakdown FM interview w/ Immortal Technique at Rock the Bells 2010

Immortal Technique

We spoke with activist and popular Hip Hop artist Immortal Technique who talked about his trips to Venezuela and what he learned from traveling extensively around the country. He said he learned a lot and it was clear that Chavez meant a lot to the poor folks and poor communities. He noted that Chavez was not very well liked within the circles of the elite and they were constantly working to get at him.. Immortal talked at lengths some of the key strengths of Chavez as well as some of his actions and policies that were problematic.. Tech also noted that one can not sum up Chavez in a quick sentence, his presidency was much more complex..

13 comments on “The Death of Hugo Chavez; Reactions from Immortal Technique, Cynthia Mckinney & More

  1. World politics is like the WWF…you never can tell what real and what’s not. US government always need a boogeyman to gain support of the people and impose their ideals.

  2. Hugo was a symbolic iconic turn for many poor in the Latin Americans, but his mess with ‘Fuehrer-Kult’ and his close alliances with Iran [Israel wipe off the map] and Baathist Syria is a must critic on ‘so called anti_imperialist’ ideological illness. Thats why so many of this ideology culture has its roots with Nazi-Europe and the _Isms of a shadow economy for political work,…heheheh,…remember the success of such left_radical bands like ‘Rage against the machine’ and the splinting into a idolatry commercial role of Zach deLA Rocha,..hehehe,..commandante here or there,..he was till death in power and plays his Oil_billions off the corruption lines into party dictatorial lines of control. Believe, a world player has left the floor, but the ideologues of left dogmathics a more then laughable for a real system change out of deficit capital_Ism….I think the community are playin a bigger role then such Stalin Hip Hop…respect from postfascist Europe.

    “La crisis económica auto_nome que atraviesa Europa a finales de los años veinte se presenta como una larga sucesión de fracasos en la cooperación entre Estados. No obstante, y a pesar de todo, los proyectos formulados entre 1929 y 1933 incluyen perspectivas originales en materia de organización del continente europeo. Algunas de ellas impresionan, incluso, por su modernidad: por ejemplo, la idea de imaginar bloques económicos homogéneos que convergerían, cada cual a su ritmo, en la unión económica de Europa; o la destinada a instaurar una sociedad internacional de crédito para financiar el desarrollo del centro y el sudeste de Europa. Es también durante estos años cuando se sientan las bases de una Europa monetaria.
    El debate militante et hetero_sensue_elle…

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