Venezuelan Embassy unveils photo memorial of former president Hugo Chavez
The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela unveiled a photo memorial on its compound last Friday, in celebration of the 64th anniversary of the birth of former president, Hugo Chavez.
The memorial displays several photos of Chavez throughout his life, including one from a visit he made to St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The event was also a celebration to commemorate the 235th anniversary of the birth of liberator, Simon Bolivar.
Bolivar was born on July 24, 1783, in Caracas, Venezuela, while Chavez was born on July 28, 1954, in Sabaneta, Venezuela.
Francisco Perez Santana, head of the Venezuelan mission in St Vincent and the Grenadines, said that both Chavez and Bolivar had emancipatory thinking.
“Chavez developed the Bolivarian doctrine in his thought and action as one of the philosophical routes of the revolution. The project of integration of an American unity promoted by Chavez has its foundation in the project of independence initiated by Francisco de Miranda and Simon Bolivar,” he said.
Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves was the guest speaker at Friday’s celebration.
He described Chavez and Bolivar as “two titans from Latin America” who lived in different historical periods.
Like Santana, Gonsalves also said that it was their way of thinking that made them memorable.
“There are certain commonalities that joined them. First of all, a people must be free to rule themselves in the way they see fit and not to be dominated by other people, that people’s resources must be used for themselves. Others can come and invest, by all means, but it must not be a rapacious investment which in effect puts people in a materially worse position than they were hitherto,” he said.
He said that despite the gap in their historical existence, both Chavez and Bolivar fought for a more integrated Latin America and the Caribbean, free of imperialist ideologies.
“I’ve read Bolivar and I’ve read Chavez, and I knew Chavez personally. He was my friend, my very dear friend. And I can speak many personal things at this celebration of his birthday, but I think he would want me to talk things more contemporary and the best birthday present, the best remembrance that we can have is to speak honestly, and to speak in a manner where we can continue to fight for the ideals which motivated Bolivar and Chavez,” he said.
Mike Browne, president of the Venezuelan-Vincentian Friendship Association (VENVIFA) referenced various literature closely associated with Chavez and Bolivar.
These included the letter penned by Bolivar while he was in Jamaica and the constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, which Chavez was known for carrying with him, when he was alive.
“Our call in our organization, VENVIFA, is for more materials on the ideas and works of these two great men to be made available in the education system, in the libraries, in the bookstores – and I’m suggesting to the embassy staff – here at the institute,” he said.
While referencing the recent renaming of the South Leeward Highway as the Nelson Mandela Highway, the president of VENVIFA also appealed to the government to have a place named after Simon Bolivar.
In April 2015, the fuel depot at Lowmans Leeward was named after Chavez, and is called the Hugo Chavez National Fuel Storage Facility.
Guests at Friday’s event had the opportunity to indulge in Venezuelan cuisine, which included arañas, a sweet that Chavez sold as a child.