On the 5th of March 2023, the world will mark the 10th anniversary of the passing of the Commander and Leader of the Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chávez. While Chávez may have left us physically, his spirit and influence live on, especially in the hearts and minds of countless Africans at home and in the diaspora. As a staunch supporter of African-Latin relations, Chávez admirably honored African art and culture, recognizing the critical role that Africa plays in the world’s history and future.
Chávez was a fierce critic of colonialism and imperialism and vehemently opposed the U.S. Hegemony that has severely harmed Africa. His anti-colonialism stance resonates deeply with Africans who are still grappling with the after-effects of colonialism, such as economic exploitation, cultural erosion, and political destabilization. Chavez’s critique of imperialism spoke directly to the aspirations of African people to reclaim their dignity, sovereignty, and self-determination.
In many African countries, Western countries, including the United States, continue to wield significant political and economic power, often to the detriment of the local populations. In Kenya, for instance, there are concerns that the country is being coerced into siding with the West against its will.
The geopolitical realities of the region and the legacy of colonialism continue to influence Kenya’s political and economic relations with the West. Chavez recognized this reality and advocated for an alternative path that prioritized South-South cooperation, based on mutual respect and benefit, as opposed to the North-South exploitation that has historically characterized international relations.
Chávez’s legacy extends beyond his anti-colonialism and anti-imperialism stance. He was also a visionary leader who championed the cause of socialism.
His socialist ideology inspired many Africans who are still fighting for similar ideals, such as equitable distribution of resources, access to education and healthcare, and fair labor practices. Chávez demonstrated that another world is possible, one that is not dominated by capitalism and neoliberalism but rather, is guided by the principles of solidarity, cooperation, and justice.
Chávez’s commitment to socialism was reflected in his policies, which prioritized the needs of the poor and marginalized. Under his leadership, Venezuela implemented a series of social programs that aimed to eradicate poverty, improve access to healthcare and education, and promote food security. These programs, such as the Bolivarian Missions, have had a significant impact on the lives of millions of Venezuelans and have inspired similar initiatives in other parts of the world including here in Africa.
His legacy inspired me to volunteer with the Bolívar Chávez Center in Kenya (CBCh-K) to advance anti-imperialist discourse in Kenya in support of Venezuela. A decade later, since the sowing of the commander and leader of the Bolivarian revolution, his values continue to guide the righteous fight against imperialism and the pursuit of freedom and unity in both our continents.
Maureen Kasuku, activista del Movimiento Feminista y Antiimperialista de la República de Kenia