I’m not sure if it’s part of an opposition campaign strategy, but I recently received a text message that read, “I’d like to see someone from the pro- Chavez camp give me ﬁve good reasons to vote for (Nicolas) Maduro without naming (President Hugo) Chavez”. I responded to the text by afﬁrming, “Excuse me, dear friend, but I couldn’t fulﬁll your request in the way you would have liked.
The number ﬁve was rather limiting so, for now, here goes eight”.
1, 2, 3…
First, he is loyal, one of the most beautiful values a man can possess. His absolute respect for the President of the Humble, his teacher, has touched the hearts of all Venezuelans as well as masses of brothers and sisters around the world – at least all of those with open hearts. Maduro’s humility, his bonhomie, make him the man he is, the truly human man, as Friedrich Nietzsche would have described him. As he accepted the interim presidency, for example, Maduro insisted that “this (presidential) sash belongs to Hugo Chavez”.
Second, for over six years he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, working alongside presidents, prime ministers, kings, and some of the most exceptional political leaders from across the Americas, Africa, Asia, Europe, and Oceania.
Third, he is a working man of humble origins with a heightened degree of class consciousness. Venezuelans will proudly be represented by a working-class President. For years we were taught that work is something to be ashamed of. Those who said so, the bankers and businessmen, didn’t work, nor did the princes, kings, and European nobility who brought that little culture to their colonies. We workers, then, were simply their slaves.
Fourth, years of political activism which began with Maduro proudly driving buses for the Caracas Metro System put him through adversity, persecution, and imprisonment, all of which allowed him to prove himself as a brilliant labor leader. His history assures us that he knows the entrails of daily need, of material deﬁciency, of the dreams shared by Venezuela’s working class, all of which suggest that his government will continue to attend to that class, to dignify it, to protect it.
Fifth, his revolutionary spirit and international experience guarantee the continuity of Chavez’s struggle for Latin American and Caribbean integration. The strengthening of regional entities such as ALBA, Unasur, Celac, and Mercosur, are the concretion of dreams shared by our Liberator, Simon Bolivar, and (Antonio Jose de) Sucre, San Martin, O’Higgins and Marti.
Sixth, Maduro is co-founder of the Movement for the Fifth Republic (MVR), predecessor of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV), the revolutionary force that drives the process of change now under-way across Venezuela.
Seventh, he took part in nothing less than the redaction of the Constitution of 1999, our Magna Carta ratiﬁed by popular vote. In addition, in January of 2006 he was elected and served as President of the country’s National Assembly.
Eighth, while serving as lawmaker Maduro defended the entirety of the social programs that beneﬁt millions of Venezuelans today. Just pensions for the elderly, free, quality education at all levels of the public education system, the construction of new schools, universities, etc. He also worked, for example, to eliminate the exclusionary quota system used in public universities and broaden access to health services with the support of the Republic of Cuba. He supported and supports athletes, campesinos, ﬁsherfolk, artisans and artists, the national orchestra system, dance groups, theater, cinema, informal workers, programs aimed at industrialization, “canaimitas” (laptop computers for children), cars and tractors made in Venezuela, to name just a few.
TO BE CONTINUED
Also known as “the missions”, these are some of the social programs that Nicolas Maduro has defended, and will continue to defend with revolutionary authenticity, once elected president on April 14th, 2013:
1. The educational “missions” Robinson, Ribas, and Sucre, tasked with guaranteeing literacy, basic education, middle and high school level training, followed by university careers, all of which depend on one another.
2. The food and nutrition “missions” and those related to basic services, starting with ambulances placed in poor (and/or rural) areas and preventative medical care provided by the widely-popular Barrio Adentro Mission, to the beautiﬁcation of public plazas, the construction of public housing, and an improved capacity to store and distribute food sold to the people in open-air markets and state-owned supermarkets at affordable prices.
3. Other missions that include the digniﬁcation of living conditions for Venezuela’s indigenous communities, the streamlining of documentation for the poor, the elderly, and immigrants, and the promotion of agricultural production so as to reduce the country’s extreme urbanization.
My friend, you who wrote me that simple text, I assure you I made my most concerted effort not to name President Chavez, as you requested. But, I must admit, it’s impossible to leave him out of the debate – Chavez overcame his own death, became each and every one of us, became his people. It’s now up to Nicolas Maduro, to Diosdado Cabello, to all of us who mourn the physical disappearance of our President Chavez to show him our love for having given us a homeland, a homeland he provided by sacriﬁcing his all, his life. For all of the aforementioned reasons we sing as Chavez sang the day he announced his fatal need to undergo surgery once again, “Homeland, homeland, dear homeland, your sky is mine, your sun is mine. Homeland, your life is mine, your soul is mine, your love is mine!”