Hugo Chávez Frías: When a friend departs
Chávez embodied Venezuela’s longing for freedom, and set out to raise a rebellious continent and lead it on the path to its second independence
Raúl Antonio Capotemarch 8, 2019 17:03:44
Ignacio Ramonet, in the book My First Life, an extended interview with Hugo Chávez, describes how: “We had arrived at the center of the infinite Venezuelan plains the day before (…) the cracked, hardened earth around us was dotted with colorful bushes, splendid giant fruit trees flowering.” They were in the land of Chávez, the boy who sold dulce de lechosa (papaya in syrup), the man who embodied Venezuela’s longing for freedom, and set out to raise a rebellious continent and lead it on the path to its second independence.
Ramonet relates their stay in Sabaneta de Barinas, the land of “my circumstances,” as Chávez referred to it. Reading this account sparks one’s imagination, navigating those splendid spaces through which Simón Bolívar passed, as well as the plainsmen of “Páez the Centaur,” and Ezequiel Zamora, and where “Cuba’s best friend” grew up.
Chávez’s death was a mean trick, there was much left to do in these lands. “I love my country dearly,” he tells Ramonet, “deeply, because as Alí Primera says, the homeland is man (…), only history provides a people with the full awareness of themselves.” Venezuela, and extending the horizon as Bolívar, Martí and Fidel knew, to encompass the Great Homeland, is that man who bore within himself the marks of that land, punished by the gusts of a hot breeze, hardened earth, and at the same time perfumed by the aroma of its fruit trees.