Resto En Paz, Camarada Chávez

07 March 2013

DEATH has done it again. The belly of Mother Earth never gets saturated – it keeps on swallowing humans, and there is no end in sight; more graves will be dug this week and next week, and next year . . . Loved ones will cry rivers of tears. Again and again.

About a month ago, we were mourning the passing of our bright star, Abraham Iyambo. This week, Mother Earth again decided to swallow Kavango Governor, Maurus Nekaro, Grootfontein Councillor Bartholomeus Mathews, and Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. If it continues like this, then I shall soon become a writer of obituaries and dirges.


Last year, I wrote a piece dedicated to Comrade Hugo Chaves. He is someone I admired a lot, and you can imagine what went through my body and soul upon hearing his passing. My son, Pahee, currently studying at UCT, sent me a text message just after midnight on Tuesday, sharing the sad Chavez news. I jumped out of bed, ran to the TV room, and started watching the CNN “Breaking News” feature on Chavez.

The sad news hit me really hard because I had hoped and prayed that Camarada Chavez will soon recover fully to take his Bolivarian Socialist Revolution to the next level. With rising oil prices,Venezuela is on the cusp of reaping handsome economic harvests thanks to their massive oil reserves which are estimated to be the second largest oil reserves in the world, Saudi Arabia being the first. Venezuela is the fifth largest member of OPEC in terms of oil production.

It is instructive to note that Venezuela has benefited significantly from the rapid increasing oil prices, considering that when Chavez came to power about 14 years ago, the oil price was about US$17 a barrel, and during his term this rose to more than US$100 a barrel! No wonder that revenue from petroleum exports accounts for about 18 percent of the country’s GDP and roughly 95 percent of total exports.

Chavez has used these massive earnings from oil to provide free education and health care to his people. He believed strongly that socialism can be achieved, and many of us who share his ideology, have been grinning from ear to ear in the knowledge that there is now someone who can make things happen for Socialism.

Venezuela, under Chávez, became one of very few countries in the world expected to achieve all eight Millennium Development Goals by the 2015 deadline. Ali Abdessalam Treki, former president of the UN General Assembly confirmed this by stating that: “What Venezuela has achieved with regards to the Millennium Development Goals should serve as a model for all other countries.”.

Unfortunately, one person’s hero is another person’s devil. Hugo Chavez was very vocal in his anti-imperialist stance, especially against the USA. His comrades included all those guys hated by the USA, such as Cuba’s Fidel and Raul Castro, Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. You will recall that this list is what George Bush used to call the “Axis of Evil”.

I guess some people would say that Hugo Chavez invited Uncle Sam’s wrath upon himself by publicly condemning the USA, using some not-so-friendly rhetoric. Take the example at the UN General Assembly meeting in 2006, when Chavez spoke about 24 hours after George Bush had spoken, and stated that he could “smell the sulfur” because the “devil” had spoken before him! In 2009, after Obama’s election, Chavez revised his previous statement and noted that the smell of sulfur was now gone because the devil was gone!

One of Hugo’s favourite books is the masterpiece by Harvard professor, Noam Chomsky, titled “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance”. At UN meetings, Chavez would brandish this book and state: “This is imperialist, fascist, assassin, genocidal, the empire.” With neighbours such as Chavez, the USA certainly did not need distant enemies!

Rightly or wrongly, the mutual hatred between Chavez and Uncle Sam has caused many Chavez sympathizers to speculate that the cancer in Chavez was artificially induced to create the outward appearance of a natural cause of death. Believe you me, the conspiracy theories will multiply like mushrooms in days to come. The old days of gunshots and “car accidents” are gone. Say “hello” to radiations and other sophisticated techniques.

Consider the killing of former KGB agent, Alexander Litvinenko,who fled Russia and received political asylum in the United Kingdom. He was the author of two books, “Blowing up Russia: Terror from within” and “Lubyanka Criminal Group”. Suddenly, on 1 November 2006 in London, Litvinenko inexplicably fell ill and was admitted to hospital, and died three weeks later. He is said to be the first confirmed victim of lethal polonium-210-induced acute radiation syndrome, and his doctors stated that: “Litvinenko’s murder represents an ominous landmark: the beginning of an era of nuclear terrorism”. I am just saying……

Rest In Peace Maurus Nekaro and Bartholomeus Mathews. Resto En Paz Hugo Chávez. Let us be consoled by these words of Nader Khalili:

“When I die.../When I die/when my coffin/is being taken out/you must never think/I am missing this world/don’t shed any tears/don’t lament or/feel sorry/

I’m not falling/into a monster’s abyss/when you see/my corpse is being carried/

don’t cry for my leaving/I’m not leaving/I’m arriving at eternal love/when you leave me/in the grave/ don’t say goodbye/remember a grave is/only a curtain/for the paradise behind you’ll only see me/descending into a grave/now watch me rise/how can there be an end/when the sun sets or/the moon goes down/it looks like the end/it seems like a sunset/but in reality it is a dawn/when the grave locks you up/that is when your soul is freed/have you ever seen/a seed fallen to earth/not rise with a new life/why should you doubt the rise/of a seed named human/have you ever seen/a bucket lowered into a well/coming back empty/why lament for a soul/when it can come back/like Joseph from the well/when for the last time/you close your mouth/your words and soul/will belong to the world of/no place no time”


The Windhoek Observer is an English-language weekly newspaper, published in Namibia by Paragon Investment Holding. It is the country's oldest and largest circulating weekly.

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