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

UN Ambassador Power Highlights Plight of Women Prisoners

She launches the 'Free the 20' campaign, aimed at profiling women being deprived of their freedom around the world More

Satellite Launch Sparks Spectacular Light Show

A slight delay in a satellite launch lit up the Florida sky early this morning More

Fleeing IS Killings in Syria, Family Reaches Bavaria

Exhausted, scared and under-nourished, Khalil and Maha's tale mirrors those of thousands of refugees from war-torn countries who have left their homes in the hopes of finding a better life More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs

More Americas News

Guatemala President Resigns Amid Corruption Probe

Spokesman says Perez Molina submitted his resignation after a judge issued an order to detain him in a customs fraud case, which already has led to the jailing of his vice president and the resignation of some Cabinet ministers
More

Guatemalan President Resigns Over Corruption Scandal

Otto Perez Molina submitted his resignation at midnight after a judge issued an order to have him detained for questioning
More

Video US Men's Soccer Team Eyeing Matches Against Peru, Brazil

The team is hoping to bounce back from a disappointing result in the Gold Cup, when Jamaica upset the US 2-1 in the semifinals
More

Video Scientists Predict Wet Winter in Drought-stricken US West

Strong El Nino could bring relief to dry areas, but punishing droughts to other regions around the globe
More

Guatemala Congress Opens Door for Prosecution of President

With 132 of 158 lawmakers approving a measure to strip immunity, prosecutors now can file criminal charges against Perez Molina just like any other citizen
More

Rio Olympics Official: Water Will Be Clean for Games

Recent report says waters so contaminated with bacteria and viruses from human sewage that athletes could become ill
More