- 20 March 2013
On March 8, around 50 people gathered in Vienna to commemorate the late Hugo Chávez Frías, president of Venezuela.
The event started with a song by the songwriter Ali Primera, “los que mueren por la vida”. Marco Castillo, second Secretary of the Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, opened the meeting by reading out a message. In the course of the evening he described in a personal statement how he himself, a student from the middle class, came to identify with Chavismo over a long period of political changes in the country. He expressed his conviction that the Venezuelan masses today have such a high political consciousness that there could be no returning to the social and political exclusion of the past.
Michael Wögerer, Co-Organiser of the event, spoke on behalf of the Österreichisch-Kubanische Gesellschaft (Austrian-Cuban Society). “I feel like I have lost a personal friend” – with these words he started his speech, in which he expressed his high esteem and appreciation for the late president. He quoted a respectful orbituary by the juventud rebelde and read out condolences by the ÖKG, the socialist youth organisations (SJ, VSSTÖ, AKS) and the Kommunistische Initiative. He then handed the word to the spokesperson of the Funke-tendency, Emmanuel Tomaselli.
Emanuel Tomaselli, spokesperson of the „Hands Off Venezuela Campaign“ in Austria and organizer of the 2006 event with Hugo Chavez in the Arena in Vienna, paid tribute to Chavez’ lifework as the largest liberation from poverty and degradation in contemporary history. He portrayed some of Chavez’ exceptional personality traits to then describe what he views as the most important element of his political career: Chavez’ role as the unquestioned revolutionary leader of millions of women and men, who left behind their past and fought for a prospect in live. This was also reflected during the past days in Caracas: “This is not only a time of mourning; this is a revolutionary movement; it’s a promise to defend what has been achieved and to develop it further.” He pointed out that the oligarchy was shaking with fear and that their provocations had stopped for now. This, however, could only be seen as temporary. (As we now know it lasted until Sunday, when the candidate of the opposition, Capriles, with unmasked class-hatred took the policy of destabilization and chaos-making to an unprecedented level). Emanuel Tomaselli put forward his prognosis that Nicolas Maduro would win the coming elections by a large margin and that the Venezuelan revolution even today lives through the mobilization of the masses, but that the most important step – the complete expropriation of the oligarchy – has yet to be taken.
Numerous contributors from the audience paid their respect to Chavez and emphasized the lasting effect of his politic. This picture shows Ali Kohlbacher. In two contributions the anger over the biased coverage in the media was expressed.
Yahima Martinez, Secretary of the Embassy of Cuba honored the deceased president as a “Child of the Cuban Revolution, who today stands in a row with the liberators Simon Bolivar and Che Guevara.” She emphasized Chavez’ magnanimity and solidarity with the peoples as well as his special relationship with Cuba “in times that we cried and in times of celebration.” She reported the strongly attended obsequies in all provincial cities on the island and explained that the revolutions of Venezuela and Cuba today are an intertwined process. She sees CELAC and ALBA as lasting elements of the unity of the Latin Americas.
„Let’s celebrate the lifework of a great revolutionary, each of us let’s do our bit so that there will be no turn-back” – with these words all attendants rose to sing The Internationale.