Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Venezuela Honours Cuban Doctors for Chávez Treatment

00.0b Chavez. Venezuela. 08.10.12


On Tuesday, Venezuelan media sources said that the Venezuelan government awarded state medals to four Cuban doctors and three nurses who provided medical care to late President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías in Cuba during his two-year-long fight with cancer. According to La Gaceta Oficial de la República Bolivariana de Venezuela, a government publication, Acting President Nicolás Maduro Moros signed a decree that recognised the Cuban healthcare professionals for their “dedicated commitment to the care of our Supreme Commander of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías”. Chávez, who ruled Venezuela for 14 years, died in a military hospital in Caracas on 5 March at the age of 58.

Within the past two years, the charismatic Venezuelan leader underwent four surgeries and four courses of chemotherapy in Cuba and Venezuela. Chávez spent most of his convalescence in Cuba after his first operation in June 2011, but he was transferred to Caracas two weeks before his death. Cuba provided extensive medical aid to Venezuela since 1999 in exchange for oil supplies. Under a bilateral program, known as “oil for doctors”, Cuba sent 31,000 doctors to Venezuela, and it provided training for 40,000 Venezuelan medical personnel. In exchange, Venezuela ships 100,000 barrels of oil per day to Cuba.

20 March 2013



Editor’s Note:

There are four main reasons why the Republican Party, in particular, hates the present Venezuelan government. Firstly, the late President Chávez was of mixed racial background, which made him unacceptable to the Republican racists. Of course, if he had sucked up to them, making clear that whites were superior, all would’ve been hunky-dory, but Chávez didn’t. Secondly, the present authorities are socialist… they spend Venezuela’s oil revenues on developing their country and helping ordinary folks, not sending them to parasitical American investors in Tarrytown and Orange County. Thirdly, Venezuela is friendly with Cuba, which is anathema to Cuban-Americans, who’re all descendants of American collaborators under Batista (remember, they helped the Mafiosi to rape their country), and who’re all fanatical rightwing Republicans. Lastly, President Maduro is a former bus-driver, a former trades unionist, a working-class man, not a lawyer… oh, the humanity! We all know how Republicans HATE trades unionists, social justice, and economic equity. Actually, the last item is the worst to them… you see, they have to kick working people down whenever they can, wherever they lift up their heads; otherwise, Americans might get ideas… that would really fry their ice, wouldn’t it?

Oh, yes, their champion Capriles is of Affluent Effluent background (his father was a lickspittle executive for Kraft Foods, an American conglomerate), a lawyer, anti-Cuban, and anti-union… what’s not to like, from a Republican standpoint? No worry… all polls state that Capriles is in for a drubbing. Venezuelans don’t want to be American colonial subjects, after all…


Saturday, 16 March 2013

Venezuela Scraps Plans to Embalm Chávez

00 Chavez. Lying in state. Venezuela. 07.03.13


On Friday, Venezuelan Communications Minister Emilio Ernesto Villegas Poljak said that the Venezuelan government decided not to embalm the body of late President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías. Chávez, who ruled Venezuela for 14 years, died on March 5 at the age of 58 after a two-year-long fight with cancer. The Venezuelan government announced the possibility of his embalming two days after his death. Sr Villegas wrote in his Twitter blog on Friday night, “We’ve ruled out the idea of embalming the body of Comandante Chávez after a Russian medical commission report, although many Venezuelans had hoped for this option”. According Sr Villegas, the Russian experts said that Chávez’s body would have to go to Russia for seven to eight months for them to embalm it properly.

On Friday, thousands of Venezuelans escorted a black hearse carrying a casket with Chávez’s body on a 12-kilometre (7.5 miles) trip from the Military Academy to the Military Museum in Caracas. The honour guard placed the casket in a marble sarcophagus in the central hall of the museum. Access to the sarcophagus will be open on Saturday for those who want to pay tribute to the late Venezuelan president. Venezuela will hold snap presidential elections on 14 April. Miranda State Governor Henrique Capriles Radonski, who lost to Chávez by a narrow margin during last year’s elections, will oppose acting President Nicolás Maduro Moros, whom Chávez named his successor before undergoing the latest surgery in December.

15 March 2013



Hugo Chávez, a Man of His Time

00 Hugo Chavez. Venezuela. 08.03.13


Like almost any other outstanding leader, Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías polarised society, and assessments of his political legacy will differ dramatically. His rise to international fame was evidence of major shifts in global politics… before him, the presidents of countries like Venezuela rarely became global stars. The feeling that liberalpolitical and economic models had come to dominate the global stage prompted a search for an alternative model. No wonder Chávez and his ardent advocacy of “21st Century Socialism” resonated with left-wingers all over the world, especially in places where discontent with American domination was growing fast.

* “Liberal” is used in the European sense… that is, policies advocated by Anglosphere “conservatives”… that’s why most Americans “misread” Russian political and social commentary. “Conservative” in Russian terms denotes paternalistic nationalism, not godless right-wing laissez-faire buccaneer crapitalism.

No matter what his opponents say about the political system in Venezuela under Chávez, it was definitely not a one-party dictatorship. Overall, Chávez was quick to see that dictatorships were becoming outdated at the end of the 20th century. People around the world, from Eastern Europe to East Asia, from southern Africa to South America, demanded the right to influence their rulers. However, Bolivarian Socialism is unlikely to survive long after Chávez’s death. Like secular socialism, it’s good for redistributing incomes… oil-rich Venezuela will have enough funds for redistribution in the next couple of decades… but it can’t encourage economic efficiency or private enterprise. Chávez’s large-scale foreign policy initiatives will soon wither away, because Venezuela won’t have enough money to satisfy its global ambitions, no matter how high the oil price.

However, this does not mean that Chávez was king for a day, one who didn’t influence the course of history. It may sound shocking, but Chávez wasn’t unlike Augusto Pinochet Ugarte, even though they were diametric opposites politically and very different human beings. Nevertheless, a closer look at these two military men, both of whom became presidents, reveals one more thing they had in common… their policies, even though discarded by their followers, changed the political stage by adding new elements to it.

Chilean President Augusto Pinochet launched neoliberal reforms that revived a Chilean economy undermined by years of shoddy governance, one that the socialist experiments of Salvador Allende Gossens almost finished off completely. Of course, Pinochet’s repressive methods aren’t acceptable, and his economic excesses soon became evident and had to be dealt with. No one mourned his departure, and he spent the last few years of his life hiding from international justice. However, when he ruled the country, he and his supporters promoted a policy of economic responsibility, which is still working. From 1989, when Pinochet left the post of president, until the end of the 2000s, left-wing forces took power in Chile; that is, the dictator’s former opponents, supporters of the man he deposed, Salvador Allende. Yet, Chile remains an efficient state with a stable economy, and the changes launched by subsequent democratic governments haven’t eroded the healthy foundation laid by Pinochet.

The situation in Venezuela is completely different. Chávez added an important element… justice… to Venezuelan politics. Compared to other Latin American countries with a similar social structure, Venezuelan society was extremely segregated, with a haughty aristocracy looking down on the impoverished masses. These masses elected Chávez because they saw him as one of their own, and in response, he turned his policy around to face the poor. You can’t keep redistributing wealth forever, so Venezuela’s policy will change. Yet, even if right-wingers came to power, they’d be unable to ignore what Chávez taught the people, which is to fight for their rights, and, so, these forces would have to maintain the social aspect of their economic policy and, possibly, even strengthen it. Now, “justice” is one of the biggest words in global politics. People demand it when they’re dissatisfied with their country’s economic system and when they question the political privileges of the “chosen” countries, such as the permanent members of the UN Security Council or the G8 nations.

An extravagant and sometimes even grotesque person, Chávez inspired many people in Latin America and influenced global politics through them. The new leaders who’ve come to power in neighbouring countries follow in Chávez’s footsteps by catering to the poor majority. There may not be a future for the inflammatory anti-Americanism of Hugo Chávez, but leaders from Chile and Argentina to Brazil and Mexico have shown that they won’t toe the American line, as their predecessors did in the past. Hugo Chávez was a man of his time. Now that he’s gone, the world won’t only remember his revolutionary statements, but it’ll also remember the measures he implemented to the benefit of his country.

01 Fyodor Lukyanov RIA-Novosti15 March 2013

Fyodor Lukyanov



Monday, 11 March 2013

The Final Days of Hugo Chavez: How He Actually Died

00 Hugo Chavez. Venezuela. funeral. 11.03.13


Sources report that Venezuelan President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías slid into a coma the day before he died of respiratory failure after cancer spread into his lungs. Chávez’s precise condition was one of the world’s best-kept secrets ever since he announced that he had cancer in June 2011. However, since his death this week, details emerged of the 58-year-old president’s battle with cancer and his last moments in hospital with close family and senior aides. One government source told Reuters, referring to ministers’ visits to the Havana and Caracas hospitals where he spent his final weeks, unable to speak and breathing through a tube, “They used iPads and other tools to give him policy presentations”. When it was time to appoint a new Foreign Minister, aides showed Chávez a list of several possible names, and he put a tick-mark beside one… Elías José Jaua Milano… before signing the document.

After he announced in 2011 that doctors detected cancer in his pelvic area, and had a “baseball-sized” tumour removed, Chávez insisted on the most restricted discretion over the publication of the details of his health. That was one reason that he chose to have treatment in Cuba, where his friendship with past and present leaders Fidel and Raúl Castro Ruz and the ruling Communist Party‘s firm grip on information guaranteed him such discretion. Chávez spent several months there on various visits, and underwent four operations, the last of which on 11 December was the most complicated. His last words to aides before flying to Havana for that operation were, “I’ll be back for sure”. Indeed, Chávez did fly home, but in such a bad state, that he couldn’t appear in public. Two sources said that he died of respiratory failure on Tuesday afternoon after the cancer had metastasised into his lungs.

A medical source said that during two initial operations in mid-2011, Chávez had a tumour removed from his intestines, and doctors diagnosed sarcoma in the psoas muscle that runs from the lower part of the vertebral column to the pelvis. Though chemotherapy and radiotherapy kept the disease at bay and allowed him to run for re-election in October 2012, Chávez took heavy doses of medicines to enable him to make some heavily-staged campaign appearances, albeit in much pain. On the last day of the campaign, standing for hours under a heavy rainfall, Chávez could bear it no longer, so, he cancelled a final rally. After he won the 7 October election by an impressive 11 percentage points, an exhausted and suffering Chávez made only a few more public appearances before he had to return to Cuba a few weeks later.

The 11 December operation lasted six hours and left Chávez in a dire state, haemorrhaging, with a severe lung infection. He lost his pulse several times during the surgery and doctors had to resuscitate him. A medical source said that Cuban doctors designed a special antibiotic to counter the infection, but even so, Chávez had to undergo a tracheotomy to enable him to breathe through a tube in his windpipe. In his last few days, a heavily-medicated Chávez met only with his closest family and aides despite clamour from his Venezuelan supporters… and opponents… to see him. They didn’t even allow one of his closest friends and allies, Bolivia‘s leftist President Juan Evo Morales Ayma, in to see him on his visits to Caracas and Havana. On Saturday, government ministers were with him for about five hours, before a rapid deterioration began. He slipped into a coma on Monday and died at 16.25 VET (12.55 PST. 15.55 EST. 20.55 UTC. 00.55 MSK Wednesday. 07.55 Wednesday AEST) on Tuesday.

10 March 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


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