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

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid

More Americas News

US-Cuba Trade Could Grow Significantly

Analysts say US exports to Cuba could eventually hit $5.9 billion annually, while Havana's exports to the US could reach $6.7 billion
More

UK Gives Falklands Medal for Argentine War Role

Announcement likely to anger Argentine government, which claims islands as its own
More

Vatican Mediation in US-Cuba Relations Applauded

Statement confirmed that Vatican diplomats facilitated talks between two countries, 'resulting in solutions acceptable to both parties'
More

Latin America Welcomes Obama's Move to Restore US-Cuba Ties

Regional leaders say initiative would further ease ideological battle that has divided Americas for decades
More

Video US Not Ruling Out White House Visit by Cuban President Castro

Comment comes a day after US announced normalization of relations with the communist-led nation after a half-century diplomatic shift
More

US-Cuba Move Ends Decades of Island's Isolation

Cuban revolution, outreach to Soviets set off years of antipathy between Washington, Havana
More