News / Americas

Latin America's Left Sees Void After Chavez

Latin America's Left Sees Void After Chavezi
X
March 12, 2013 11:49 PM
Chavez's death could eventually affect Cuba, which has benefitted from cheap oil, other subsidies from Venezuela
Bill Rodgers
The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez leaves a void for the left in Latin America that most analysts say is unlikely to be filled soon.  His death could also eventually affect communist Cuba, which has benefitted from cheap oil and other subsidies from the petroleum-rich nation.

In death, as in life, Hugo Chavez won acclaim from the leaders of Latin America's new left, united in their opposition to what they see as U.S. domination of the region.

For them, the late Venezuelan leader has joined the pantheon of Latin American revolutionary heroes.

"We are fully committed to continuing with these battles, to give continuity to the dreams of Bolivar, Sandino, Marti, Fidel, and Hugo Chavez," said Daniel Ortega, president of Nicaragua.

During his lifetime, Chavez tried to fulfill the dream of Simon Bolivar, the 19th century South American liberator who aimed to unite the continent.  

Former Brazilian leader Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wrote in the New York Times that history will remember  Chavez for this effort and his commitment to alleviate poverty.
 
To this end, he formed regional blocs, aimed at countering the free market and free trade policies promoted by Washington, to advance what he called 21st century socialism.

The rise of like-minded leaders in Latin America helped push these projects forward.  But it's unclear if anyone can take Chavez's place, according to Michael Shifter who heads the Inter-American Dialogue, a policy group.

"His money was an important part of his power base and he helped a lot of people. So he really created a sense of loyalty and allegiance among a lot of people and a lot of governments in Latin America.  And there’s not going to be anybody who is going to fill his shoes in the region," Shifter said.

Because Venezuela is a major oil producer, money was readily available.

And Cuba became a major beneficiary, receiving heavily discounted oil and other subsidies from the late Venezuelan leader, who viewed Fidel Castro as a mentor.

Cuba paid to tribute to Chavez after his death with a 21-gun salute.  But the honors did not ease the anxiety of some.

"It is a loss, because Chavez helps our country a great deal.  Without him I think things will be a bit more difficult," said housewife Yuney Valladares.  

While Cuba has been able to reduce its dependence on Venezuelan oil by developing its own resources, there is still concern - says Philip Brenner, a Cuba specialist at American University in Washington.

"Venezuela clearly was a ready source of oil and it’s not a ready source anymore if there’s going to be a change there," Brenner said.  

But no immediate change is expected, given that acting President Nicolas Maduro is favored to win next month's election. Even though he was handpicked by Chavez, analysts say he will likely focus primarily on Venezuela's domestic needs instead of fostering Latin America's left.

You May Like

Beijing Warns Hong Kong Protesters, Cracks Down at Home

In suppressing protest news, China reportedly has arrested more than 20 people on the mainland who acted in support of Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters More

Competing Goals Could Frustrate Efforts to Fight Islamic State

As alliances shift and countries re-define themselves, analysts say long-standing goals of some key players in Middle East may soon compete with Western goals More

Child Sexual Exploitation to Worsen in SE Asia

Southeast Asia’s planned economic integration is a key step for boosting the region’s productivity, but carries downsides as well More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Mexico Captures Wanted Drug Kingpin Hector Beltran Leyva

Beltran Leyva is one of four brothers who allegedly headed a vicious Mexican drug cartel after it split with the Sinaloa cartel
More

Mother Says Former US Marine Needs Treatment, Not Mexican Prison

Jill Tahmooressi said son Andrew, 26, has been threatened by prison guards with rape, torture and execution since his arrest in March
More

Rio 2016 Olympics Progress Impressive, Says IOC in Change of Tone

Assessment, in stark contrast to ‘worst’ ever remark made by one committee member, comes after latest site inspection
More

Mexican Soldiers Face Murder Charges in 22 Deaths

Three soldiers charged with homicide in death of 22 suspected drug gang members who prosecutors allege were executed
More

Poll: Record Number of Mexicans Crime Victims in 2013

While government data shows murder rate has fallen in past 2 years, crimes such as kidnapping and extortion, which affect wider swath of the population, rise
More

OAS Asks Members to Take In Guantanamo Detainees

Organization of American States issues appeal for member countries to take in detainees from US military prison
More