Hugo Chavez nationalized Venezuela’s massive oil wealth and spent the profits on schools, hospitals, clinics, and daycare centers. During his time in office, the poverty rate was halved, income inequality dropped to the lowest levels in Latin America, infant mortality rates dropped, literacy rates rose, and voter participation hit record highs. When a group of right-wing businessmen conspired with some portions of the military to stage a coup against the Chavez (a coup which the U.S. immediately acknowledged as the “legitimate” government, and that received open support from the right-wing Venezuelan media), hundreds of thousands of supporters surrounded the presidential palace in protest; this upsurge of popular support succeeded in re-installing Chavez to power. Chavez was instrumental in the defeat of the “Free Trade Agreement of the Americas”, a neoliberal treaty that would essentially expand NAFTA to all of Latin America (except Cuba). Last December, Venezuela became the first country in the world to abolish entrance visa requirements for Palestinians. Chavez and his administration aren’t perfect—who is?—but he was committed to building socialism, fighting the imperialism and the regional domination of the United States, and to meeting the needs and improving the quality of life of the Venezuelan working class. Chavez’s death is a loss for the people of Venezuela—but not a defeat. RIP

(via monetizeyourcat)

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