Opinion: Chavez was a maker of dreams
By Eva Golinger, Special to CNN
Read the entire article here and watch Eva Golinger’s interview with Christiane Amanpour.
Editor’s note: Eva Golinger is an attorney and writer from New York, living in Caracas, Venezuela, since 2005 and author of “The Chávez Code: Cracking US Intervention in Venezuela” (2006 Olive Branch Press) and “Bush vs. Chávez: Washington’s War on Venezuela” (2007, Monthly Review Press). She is Editor-in-Chief of Venezuelan newspaper, the Correo del Orinoco International, and hosts a weekly show on RT Spanish, Detrás de la noticia. She blogs at Chavezcode.com.
(CNN) — Most of what you read or hear in mass media about President Hugo Chavez is always negative, his faults exaggerated, his discourse distorted and his achievements ignored. The reality is quite different.
Hugo Chavez was beloved by millions around the world. He changed the course of a continent and led a collective awakening of a people once silenced, once exploited and ignored. Chavez was a grandiose visionary and a maker of dreams.
An honest man from a humble background who lived in a mud hut as a child and sold candies on the streets to make money for his family, Chavez dreamed of building a strong, sovereign nation, independent of foreign influence and dignified on the world scene. He dreamed of improving the lives of his people, of eradicating the misery of poverty and of offering everyone the chance of a better life — the “good life” (el buenvivir), as he called it.
President Chavez made those dreams come true. During his nearly 14 years of governance, elected to three full six-year terms but only serving two due to his untimely death, Chavez’s policies reduced extreme poverty in Venezuela by more than 75%, from 25% to less than 7% in a decade, according to statistics from the Center for Economic and Policy Research. And overall poverty was reduced by more than 50%, from 60% in 1998 when Chavez first won office to 27% by 2008.
This is not just numbers, this translates into profound changes in the lives of millions of Venezuelans who today eat three meals a day, own their homes and have jobs or access to financial aid.
But the dreams don’t stop there. Chavez dreamed of a nation filled with educated, healthy people, and so he established free, quality public education from preschool through doctoral studies, accessible to all. In fact, for those in remote areas or places without educational facilities, schools were built and mobile educational facilities were created to bring education to the people.
Chavez also created a national public health system offering universal, free health care to all, with the help and solidarity of Cuba, which sent thousands of doctors and medical workers to provide quality services to the Venezuelan people, many who had never received medical care in their lives…
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