Wednesday, July 06, 2011

President Hugo Chavez Returns to Venezuela

Havana. July 5, 2011

Chávez with his people

"In the epicenter of my greatest love"

Félix López

SHORTLY before Venezuela’s unique celebration of the bicentenary of the country’s independence this July 5, Comandante Chávez, bathed in the passion and love of his supporters, appeared on the Balcón del Pueblo and made his own one of Simón Bolívar’s firmest and most optimistic decisions, "If nature opposes us, we shall fight her and make her obey us."

From the streets around Miraflores Palace, between tears, slogans and songs, an impassioned crowd bestowed on Chávez all of the love that he has sown in his people: "He’s back, he’s back, he’s back," "¡Palante, Comandante!", "Thank you Fidel, for taking care of him…" Uh, Ah, Chávez no se va...", chorused Venezuelans of all ages, from all parts, as soon as they heard on Venezolana de Televisión that President Hugo Chávez had arrived in the early hours of July 4.

The President, in impeccable parachute uniform, embracing his daughters, announced that this was the beginning of his return, to struggle up the hill once more and win the battle. "Here I am in the epicenter of my greatest love. Love is repaid with love." And when the crown exclaimed, "Chávez is here for a good while yet," the President responded, "We have begun to overcome the disease which incubated itself in my body, and we will win this new battle as well, and we will win it together, for life, for the homeland and for the Revolution."

His words had the confiding tone of a friend, a brother, of an informal Chávez speaking clearly to his people. A brief but clarifying explanation of his medical condition and his profound gratitude, "My thanks to José Gregorio Hernández, for the magic of the people, the prayers of the people, to the doctors, to medical science, to life, to Fidel Castro, who has virtually been the medical chief of the legion of Venezuelan and Cuban doctors who, from the very first day, devoted themselves in such a sterling way to this battle."

When Chávez explained that he has to comply with strict medical controls to ensure his full recovery, and while his daughter Rosa Virginia warned him that he had already been talking for half an hour, all the people in unison appealed to him to rest. But, very moved, Comandante Chávez asked them for another two or three minutes, "I know that you will understand because you are the first to accompany me toward the definitive victory. We shall live and overcome all these difficulties."

He knew that he could not leave the Balcón del Pueblo without referring to the passion that anchored him to life in the past few weeks, "Tomorrow is July 5: Viva the Bolivarian Republic, the daughter of Bolívar! Tomorrow is a day of jubilation, patriotic passion is already alight, all the sacred fire of this heroic Caracas and this heroic Venezuela… This is the hour of life and of the definitive independence of the Venezuelan homeland, it is the hour of the Venezuelan people, and I, a son of this people, could not fail to be present at the bicentennial fiesta of the life of the homeland in body, soul and spirit."

Embraced by all his symbols, the national anthem, the flag and the crucifix which accompanied him in the difficult hours of the fascist coup in 2002, Chávez began to bid farewell to the people, "This Christ (crucifix) is the same one that I showed on April 14, on that return. I raise it again. Christ with is! Who against us? The people with us! Who against us?" it was hard for him to detach himself from the people. And he went inside distributing greetings, blowing kisses, transmitting love.

The doors of the Balcón del Pueblo closed. Chávez, under a disciplined regime, had to have a snack and rest. But outside, everyone continued celebrating his return, affirming that even God is for Chávez, saying that 80% of Venezuelans are concerned about the Comandante’s health and recovery, while the other 20% have been left with their mouths open. They are the mean-spirited percent who are describing Chávez’ illness as a media show, emulating that fascist Argentine oligarchy which celebrated the death of Eva Perón with despicable billboards proclaiming long live cancer.

But, with that attitude, they will receive from the people the most historical of all their defeats. Vice President Elias Jaua has already warned them, "In honor of the nobleness of the Venezuelan people, who have nothing to do with that morbid culture that has taken hold in the minds of small sectors, respect the love of this people which is overflowing in the streets of Caracas, respect the health of a human being who is Hugo Chávez."

All the rest has already been said by the people in all possible ways. And the placard with which a young man waited all day below the Balcón del Pueblo summed it all up, "We are going to defend happiness like a trench/defend it from scandal and the routine/of miseries and the miserable."

Translated by Granma International

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