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4 de abril de 2013 | | | | |

Spirituality for Liberation

Interview with Reverend Raul Suarez (Cuba): Hugo Chavez’s Ethical and Spiritual Legacy

The political legacy of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is continental and historical. This was one of the conclusions of the International Meeting of the Network of Intellectuals, Artists and Social Activists in Defense of Humanity held on March 25-26 in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas.

The contribution made by Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution began in 1992 with Chavez’s attempt to overthrow Carlos Andres Perez amid a deep social and economic crisis in the country. He later paved the way for the constitutional reform, he overcame an attempt of coup d’état against him and led the country’s down a counter-hegemonic and anti-imperialistic path.

So, how are we to analyze these past 20 years from a Latin America that used to be run by neoliberal governments until today, from a spiritual and religious perspective?
Real World Radio interviewed Reverend Raul Suarez during the meeting. He is a member of the Cuban Ecumenical Movement. He said: “If we think about the negative role of use and abuse of religion both within the religious structures as the dogmatic minds, Chavez’s contribution is significant. Chavez was concerned about peoples, the people who were listening to him, the poor people. So the poor are not part of political parties nor they adhere to a political ideology. And that should be respected”, said Suarez.

Chavez’s legacy has been a strong impulse, according to Suarez. He made people aware of what oppresses communities and promoted ways to free themselves of that.
The Meeting’s final declaration reads: “Hugo Chavez’s thought and action represent a new ethical conception about universal rights of the present and future generations and the recovery of politics, of its raison d’etre, of its universal, human and beautiful meaning. Chavez gave new energy to the poor people in his struggle for freedom and justice.”

Half a century of preaching, action and example of Cuban revolutionary process and in defense of the Latin American peoples by getting rid of the US paternalism is complemented at the turn of the century by the Bolivarian process, which also contributed to the material basis of this liberation process, says the Cuban Reverend.

“We (the Cuban Revolution) have never shared the leftovers, because we have nothing left to spare”, says Suarez. “We are limited to the sickening persecution of the US; but we have gained humanity and that is our most cherished treasure. That is the radical change of the revolution, to recover our dignity”.

Suarez said that the debate on building the “21st century socialism”, both the Cuban experience and the Bolivarian one are essentially an “ethical process” that implies “a radical change of awareness” but that cannot be separated from the people’s material conditions.

He believes the challenge of the Bolivarian Revolution with Nicolas Maduro’s leadership -current interim president and candidate for the presidential elections of April 14, appointed by Chavez himself- is to continue with these two aspects by taking into account that the country’s oil richness might be an obstacle.

Photo: Micaela Ryan (ALBA TV)

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