EL COMANDANTE

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LAST WORDS: “I don’t wan t to die. Please don’t let me die.”

LAST DAY: March 5, 2013

I don’t know why, but I have been deeply affected by the recent death of Hugo Chavez, President of Venezuela. Strangely sad. I’ve found myself remembering news clips of his failing health over the last couple of years as if he were a personal family member.

Recounting his public struggle with health and contrasting it with his ultimate and very public death leaves a sinking stinging, an absence. I assumed like most do in the land of extensive cancer treatments and nauseating hope, that he would fight it since he had access to the world’s finest doctors. He did not.

My  knowledge of Chavez and his politics is limited. I generally recognized him as a man who was a champion of and for his people and a South American boldly vocalizing humanity’s cultural, biological, and historical connection to the continent of Africa. There have been moments in between where I’ve heard statements that deny the former and dismiss the latter. Most strong leaders are either perceived as saviors or tyrants. He was known as both. However in the aftermath of his death, Venezuelans are shown grieving more than a leader, a head of state, a president. The overwhelming  fondness for this father-like figure is enchanting in a contemporary landscape of corruption and disillusionment.

His attempt to reunite South America was hopeful and worthy of recognition. His redistribution of the country’s oil reserve profits was an intriguing notion applauded by some and pissed off others. I’m saddened that the world is  losing a prominent middle finger giver. I find myself wondering what’s going to happen to his policies, his vision.  Wondering if the country will be made vulnerable by the sudden loss of its very patriarchal leader.

His last words were especially striking: Please don’t let me die. Its the most earnest desire a human can have. Its a  sincere and basic request.

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