Venezuela Prez is Saibaba's disciple
Kancherla Indrasena Reddy 'I pledge my life to liberty': Simon Bolivar Nicolas Maduro, the Acting President of Venezuela, won the presidential...
Kancherla Indrasena Reddy "I pledge my life to liberty": Simon Bolivar
Nicolas Maduro, the Acting President of Venezuela, won the presidential election defeating his rival Henrique Capriles on April 14 by a narrow margin. It is a signal and caution for him to assess the reasons for the margin of victory. Maduro's victory represents a mixed bag of several interpretations. The common people of Venezuela hail it as people's victory. It emphasizes the imperatives of the renewal and continuation of Chavismo, the socialist agenda of Hugo Chavez. Implicit in it is the defeat of money bags, vested interests, multi-national corporate houses, and imperialist agencies in Venezuela. Venezuela, as the fifth biggest oil-producing country, has played a pivotal role in South America since Chavez became President in 1998. Maduro became a close aide and a trusted follower of Chavez when the latter organized an abortive coup against the regime of Carlos Andres Perez in 1992. Now that the President-elect is about to assume charge as successor to Chavez, his performance will be under a scanner by both his well-wishers and opponents at home and abroad. Chavez himself was immensely influenced by the revolutionary Cuban Castro as well as Simon Bolivar, the 19th century South American legendary statesman. Maduro, thus, inherits the legacy of a plethora of iconic leaders of the continent. South America has been a victim of both colonial and neo-colonial hegemony. A synoptic view of the continent since the arrival of Christopher Columbus in Bahamas in 1492 will help proper assessment of South American politics in general and that of Venezuela in particular. Columbus' voyages were sponsored by Ferdinand-II, the Emperor of Spain, for spreading Christianity in the New World and to bring home the booty to fill Spanish coffers. The year 1492 paved the way for many more voyagers from Spain, Portugal, and several regions of Europe. The fatal year changed the course of the economic history of the world. It inaugurated the era of plunder of the natural resources of the entire continent, and also massacre of the indigenous populace of the new world. South America is a land of beauty and plenty with its gold mines, precious metals, fertile lands, pristine beaches, a vast coastline, great rivers and fascinating forests. These natural resources became a curse for the native 'Indians.' The end of the 18th century began to witness sporadic resistance against colonial powers. By the dawn of the 19th, these resistance movements produced several great leaders. Simon Bolivar (1783-1830), the greatest South American legendary leader, was a Venezuelan and an outstanding intellectual. He was an eloquent speaker, warrior, liberator and a visionary. He believed and practiced liberty and maintained: "A people that love freedom will in the end be free." He also visualized a great Federation of Hispanic American Republics. The Congress of Panama, organized by him in 1826, was integral to his dream of a united Latin America. He was also instrumental in liberating at least six South American states, including Venezuela, during his lifetime. The size of these nations is equal to that of Western Europe. He also tried to abolish slavery from these lands. He became a model and mentor to Hugo Chavez six decades later. Chavez stormed into the political space of Venezuela like a hurricane, organized an abortive coup against the Carlos regime, served a sentence of two years and emerged as the President of the Republic four years later. Future historians will place him at the centre stage of South American political scenario during the first decade of the 21st century. He was also a visionary committed to the cause of the Latinos. He had the guts to refer to President Bush as a 'devil' on the latter's home turf of New York as part of his historic rhetoric on the floor of the UN Assembly in 2006. Chavez always tended to look at himself as a genuine political heir to Bolivar. As a mark of respect to his political leader, he named his nation after him as Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. The name of Venezuela is the gift of colonialism. It means 'little Venice' while Caracas is an indigenous ethnic group in Venezuela. Chavez extended his hand of friendship by supplying oil to his socialist friends in the neighborhood, Cuba in particular, in a 'give and take' manner. Chavez formulated the policies of his socialist agenda which came to be known as Chavismo. It is the blueprint of social justice which aims at providing houses, potable water and sanitation, free education to the university level and free medical facilities to the under-privileged Venezuelans. In fact, his ambition was to implement all these measures during his lifetime by 2018, the terminal year of his third- term Presidency. But his destiny decreed differently and he did before he could be formally sworn in President in January this year. Even his worst enemies concede that he did everything possible to promote local arts, music and dance forms. He is known for breaking into dance often in his interactive sessions with the local people. This is how he endeared himself to the common Venezuelans. It is heartening indeed to observe how the common people mourned his death crying: "We are Chavez. Our Chavez is immortal." Chavez began to realize that his end was very near six months before it came on March 5, and nominated Maduro as his successor and Vice-President, facilitating a smooth transition of power after his demise. Maduro inherits the rich legacy left behind by Chavez and many more former iconic leaders of the continent. Maduro, hailing from an influential clan, is a trade union leader and a former subway driver. He had been carefully groomed by Chavez as his successor. The entire world, the socialists in particular, will watch keenly how he performs and carries out Chavismo. Maduro visited Puttaparthy, the abode of the Indian spiritual Satya Saibaba, in 2005 accompanied by his wife and took His blessings. He became Minister for Foreign Affairs in the Cabinet of Chavez in 2006. Chavez himself was a believer and yet wedded to socialist ideology. Venezuelan leaders are practitioners of Liberation Theology. Maduro's association of two decades with Chavez in several capacities provided him with the dynamism and foresight not only to continue the policies enshrined in Chavismo, but also to checkmate the neo-colonial operations of the Big Brother. Moreover, one hopes that he will also enlist the support of the biggest socialist States of Brazil and Argentina, headed by seasoned and experienced women Presidents, Dilma Rouseff and Christina Fernandez, respectively, and several other socialist leaders. This is absolutely necessary for realization of the combined dream of a united Latin/South America by both Bolivar of the 19th century and Chavez in the 21st century on the lines of the United States of America. firstname.lastname@example.org