American President Barak Obama says the death of Venezuela's iconic leader Hugo Chavez opens ‘a new chapter in the country’s history’. This means Chavez will continue to be demonized in the US, believes investigative journalist Pepe Escobar.
The charismatic leader suffered a number of health complications after returning from his latest round of treatment in Cuba.
The real cause of his death is still to be discovered says Pepe Escobar, an investigative journalist and Asia Times Correspondent covering Latin America, who doesn’t exclude the possibility of an American hand.
He fears a coup after the presidential election next month.
RT: "Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history" - these were the words of U.S. President Barack Obama. What is his message?
PE: In fact, Obama’s message was a bit ridiculous. He
said that the US is going to stand united with the Venezuelan
people. What kind of people does he mean? Does he mean the people
who elected and re-elected Chavez in 13 out of 14 democratic
elections or does he mean those, who go to New York and Miami to
trade and demonize Chavez and chavistas as evil dangerous
communists? This is ridiculous. The most important thing is that in
my opinion Chavez, in terms of a political leader, was always
referring to the international revolutionary tradition from Mao
Zedong to Che Guevara. He was like an Elvis of modern geopolitics,
bigger than Elvis in fact, because he won almost all the elections
in which he participated. And the thing is that this demonization
of Chavez, even after death, will grow in the US. First of all,
Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world. The United
States and the EU can sing “All you need is love” to those
gas-and-petro-monarchies in the Persian Gulf but the leader of
Venezuela decided the oil wealth would benefit the lower classes.
This is something unheard of in the Persian Gulf. That’s why he is
demonized and will continue to be demonized. The historical verdict
on Chavez is complicated. It will take a few years to put him in a
revolutionary tradition as a popular leader in terms of ending the
hegemony of imperialistic interests in Latin America. After Chavez,
remember, there is [Luiz Inácio] Lula in Brazil, [Rafael] Correa in
Ecuador, [José] Mujica in Uruguay, [Evo] Morales in Bolivia –
leftist progressive governments all over South America. Chavez’s
idea was always a better integration of the Latin America in
RT: What do you make of the accusations from Caracas of foul play in Chavez's death - is it just a conspiracy theory or are there grounds to make those allegations?
PE: This is very complicated because we don’t have proof.
It took us years to understand what happened to [Yasser] Arafat.
That was in 2004 and only six years later it was discovered that he
was poisoned by polonium 210. It could be the same thing with
Chavez. It’s possible. Don’t forget, and this is not a conspiracy
theory, that the CIA tried to poison Fidel Castro thousand times.
Maybe they had a break with Chavez as well – nobody knows. We have
to always refer back to the military coup in 2002. This was
promoted by Washington, organized by the American Embassy in
Caracas with these powerful Venezuelan players involved, who always
go back to Miami and New York. So the chavistas had reasons to be
slightly paranoid about it. We still don’t know the facts as we
still don’t know the facts about Chavez’s cancer. The information
was withheld from the public for a few months. And it’s crazy,
because Fox News are saying today that bad Cuban medicine killed
Hugo Chavez, which is completely stupid. There are 30,000 Cuban
doctors helping poor people in Venezuela. This speaks for itself.
Can you imagine if these doctors were helping poor people in the US
as well, what would Barack Obama say about that?
RT: It was a neck and neck presidential race last year - What are the chances of Chavez's chosen successor, Nicolas Maduro, winning power?
PE: It’s very easy. Maduro is not an articulator like [Diosdado] Cabello, the speaker of the Venezuelan National Assembly. There was a speculation that Cabello would be in power for the next 30 days before the elections. No, it’s going to be Maduro. He is going to run, as a vice-president, and he is going to win. First of all, because the opposition prefer Miami-New York just like the Venezuelan middle classes and like the other South American middle and upper-middle classes, which are bored by the fact that in Venezuela, in Ecuador, in Uruguay, in Argentina, in Brazil there was an enormous redistribution of wealth in the last ten years or so. He is going to win, but the problem is can he keep what we call ‘the Bolivarian socialist revolution’ in Venezuela, which is not exactly a revolution but a more participative, inclusive government but it’s not socialism at all. It has the elements of neo-liberalism as well. How this is going to be organized without this larger-than-life Elvis of geopolitics? Expect a lot of disturbances inside Venezuela because the disorganized opposition and a small faction of military will be talking to Washington and New York on a daily basis. What about the next coup?