A Latin America expert tells Press TV that the United States politicians in Washington and New York are celebrating the tragic death of Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez.
Venezuela’s leader Hugo Chavez has died after a long battle with cancer. Tearful Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced Chavez’ death directly from a Caracas military hospital. Maduro had earlier told the nation that Chavez was given cancer by enemies, adding that the imperialistic powers were seeking to destabilize Venezuela– both militarily and economically. The vice president said Caracas had expelled an American diplomat for trying to stir up a military coup against Chavez. The Venezuelan Foreign Ministry has also announced the expulsion of a second US official. The Pentagon has confirmed that a US military attaché — expelled from Venezuela– is en route back to the United States but US officials have rejected as absurd Venezuela’s allegation that the US has been behind Chavez’s death.
Press TV has conducted an interview with Richard Becker, a Latin America expert from Berkeley, California, to further talk over the issue. What follows is an approximate transcript of the interview.
Press TV: The fact that many Venezuelans liken Chavez’s death to Yasser Arafat, the Venezuelans are accusing the US being behind his death calling it actually a murder. What do you think about this case? How strong does this claim hold?
Becker: Thank you. We do not know. We support the call by Vice President Nicolas Maduro for a thorough investigation and we know without any doubt whatsoever that there are celebrations going on in the quarters of power in Washington and New York and so forth. They are happy.
They are happy by this terribly tragic event which has deprived the people of Venezuela and the people of Latin America of a great leader, a leader who is dedicated to the interests of the people who made sure that it was the poor who benefited unlike perhaps any other administration or very few other administrations in the history of Venezuela, a country that has a vast divide between the very rich and the middle class on the one hand and the great masses of people who are the base of support of Chavez and who benefitted from the [menciones], the programs that affected all areas of life.
Press TV: We know that Chavez was the flag bearer and leader of an anti-imperialist and anti-US campaign in the Latin American region. With his death, how much loss does the Latin American region feel and how much US influence will we see in the Latin American region?
Becker: That is the big question at this point. We know that the ALBA Alliance, the Bolivarian Alliance for Latin America, has gained great momentum with Ecuador and Bolivia and Nicaragua, some of the Caribbean countries in addition to its two-founding members who are Cuba and Venezuela.
And they have been working very hard in Venezuela to build up a progressive party, the socialist party, the unified socialist party of Venezuela and we are very hopeful that if in fact it is Nicolas Maduro who succeeds Chavez as president and with all of the other supporters and members of the government, that they will be able to go forward with the projects that Chavez dedicated his administration and really dedicated his life to and that that will be able also to sustain the ALBA alliance which is challenged in the most serious way of a US domination over Latin America.