- Posted March 6, 2013 by
Muntinlupa City, Philippines
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Your thoughts on Hugo Chavez
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Remembering the Late Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez
- sarahbrowngb, CNN iReport producer
I remember Hugo Chavez being overthrown by a coup d'etat on April 11, 2002 and being replaced by a new Venezuelan leader. But the late Pres. Hugo Chavez was later re-installed as Venezuela's president on April 14, 2002. The late Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez would later face several attempts from the opposition to force him out of power, but the late president prevailed over such attempts and succeeded in maintaining his presidential rule. Pres. Hugo Chavez actually made a state-visit to the Philippines in 1999. He signed 2 memorandums of agreement with the Philippine government back then. The 2 memorandums of agreement were a Memorandum of Agreement on Tourism-Cooperation and a Memorandum of Agreement on Trade and Investments. The administration of the late Pres. Hugo Chavez made tremendous efforts to boost trade relations with the Philippines that Venezuela today is the Philippines' 5th largest trading partner in South America.
The Philippines and Venezuela share Hispanic heritage and are both predominantly Roman Catholic countries. I think the Philippines and Venezuela will continue smooth diplomatic relationship even after the death of Venezuelan Pres. Hugo Chavez. But many Filipino entrepreneurs hope that the one who will replace Hugo Chavez as Venezuela's president should be truly-dedicated in maintaining trade- and-tourism partnership for the benefit of both countries.
The late Pres. Hugo Chavez pursued an ideology in 2005 which he called as 'Socialism of the 21st Century'. It was not really a new ideology in the sense that I think it was the same as Social Democracy mixed with Populism. In other words, Pres. Hugo Chavez mixed Social Democracy with his own vision of how Populism should work in Venezuela, then called such mixture as 'Socialism of the 21st Century'. However, it can't be denied that Pres. Chavez made huge efforts in pursuing land reform, profit-sharing mechanisms, additional benefits for workers and farmers, and other social reforms based on his concept of 'Socialism of the 21st Century'.
I believe Pres. Hugo Chavez was well-loved by most of his countrymen and countrywomen when he became Venezuela's president. He won the presidential election several times. He actually won 4 presidential terms. However, it can't be denied that the late Pres. Hugo Chavez somehow became authoritarian later on as Venezuela's president. The opposition's constant demand of forcing Hugo Chavez out of power made the late president's administration became strict with enforcing national-security laws. Also, Chavez' popularity among the Venezuelan masses made the late president's administration became so-conscious about the blatant hero-worship of Chavez that the late president was allowed to rule his country as either a semi-authoritarian or a nearly-dictatorial leader.
Pres. Hugo Chavez ruled as a semi-authoritarian or a nearly-dictatorial leader with constitutional processes and in accordance with what Venezuela's democratic institutions had granted to him. I don't want to judge the late Pres. Hugo Chavez as either an anti-democratic leader who reformed Venezuela's society or a democratic leader forced by circumstances to have some authoritarian powers to defend his presidency from subversive elements. I would let the Venezuelan people give the proper judgment on how the late Pres. Hugo Chavez ruled his country. But citizens in a democracy should always be vigilant in defending and securing their own human rights, civil liberties and freedom. People living in a democracy should not be so emotionally-attached to a charismatic ruler to the point of allowing such leader to have a semi-authoritarian or a truly-authoritarian leadership that can threaten democracy and freedom. Citizens in a democracy should ensure that their duly-elected leaders will defend their human rights, civil liberties and freedom. Citizens in a democracy should always be vigilant and conscious about protecting their own human rights, civil liberties and freedom.