Sixteen countries in Latin America have decreed a period of national mourning after the death on Tuesday of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, and millions of people in Venezuela and around the world have expressed their condolences, including members of Congress and community groups in the U.S. who sent a flood of messages to the Embassy of Venezuela to the U.S. in Washington, DC.
U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee released the following statement:“I want to send my sympathy and prayers to the people of Venezuela on the death of President Hugo Chavez who was the youngest elected president of that country. I pray that God will continue to bless the country of Venezuela and that He will give the country comfort during this challenging time.”
The Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, founder and president of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said in a statement: “I am very saddened to learn about the passing of His Excellency Hugo Chavez, President of The Republic of Venezuela. I have known and met President Chavez on several occasions and he always emphasized his commitment to fight poverty as one of his top priorities. During this sad and difficult moment in the lives of all those affected by this sad and unfortunate news, we most always remember that God is our refuge and strength. I join the people of Venezuela especially the family and friends of President Chavez in mourning a beloved global leader.”
Former U.S. Congressman from Massachusetts Joseph Kennedy II also mourned the loss of President Chávez and told the press that the Venezuelan leader cared deeply about the poor and even helped almost two million in the U.S. by donating heating oil through Kennedy’s charity, Citizen’s Energy.
Representative José Serrano of New York released a statement in which he recalled President Chávez’s visit to the Bronx in 2005 and the programs he started to help poor residents there.
Serrano wrote: “President Chavez was a controversial leader. But at his core he was a man who came from very little and used his unique talents and gifts to try to lift up the people and the communities that reflected his impoverished roots. He believed that the government of the country should be used to empower the masses, not the few. He understood democracy and basic human desires for a dignified life. His legacy in his nation, and in the hemisphere, will be assured as the people he inspired continue to strive for a better life for the poor and downtrodden.”
The National Lawyers Guild, a U.S. organization with 120 chapters nationwide, addressed a letter to Vice President Maduro and the Venezuelan people which reads: “our deep condolences for the loss of President Chavez. We were heartened to witness his impressive election victory five months ago. As the oldest bar association in the United States dedicated to social justice and human rights over property interests, the Guild has sent numerous delegations to Venezuela. We observed firsthand the progress of the Bolivarian revolution under the leadership of Huge Chavez. Thanks to the robust and participatory nature of democracy in Venezuela, we are confident that the country will remain in good hands and that the Bolivarian Project will continue to flourish under new and committed leadership and grassroots support.”
Meanwhile, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) wrote: “we wish to express our deepest condolences to the government and people of Venezuela on the passing of President Hugo Chavez. We deeply regret the suffering President Chavez endured due to his long battle with cancer.”
The People Speak
Messages from people in the U.S. poured in on the social networking sites of the Embassy of Venezuela in Washington, as well as via email.
Paul Basileo wrote: “Iwould like to express my heartfelt condolences to the family of President Chavez and the people of Venezuela for the tragic death of this wonderful man. Unlike many Americans who only knew about President Chavez through the slanted and unsympathetic views of him that our press has in the United States has given…He was a most compassionate human being, especially to the poor, not only of Venezuela, but to the poor in the United States. No one in our press ever bothered to print the fact that through his and the people of Venezuela’s generosity, two million Americans received free heating oil to help them survive the cold winters in much of our country….”
An email message from a woman named Iris reads “with profound sadness I send my condolences from Syracuse, New York. What deep pain for our people. May God bless and protect you in these moments of so much remorse. Peace for your spirit, Hugo Rafael, as I called you, may God guide you to paradise, rest in peace.”
From Miami, Concepción expressed “condolences to his parents, children, other family members, friends and sympathizers, as well as to the members of his government and the people in general in these moments of mourning for Venezuela.”
An email from Joseph also lamented the death of the president and states: “He was an inspiration and a great leader. My condolences as well to his family. The peoples of Venezuela and the peoples of the world lost a great man. I mourn alongside the peoples of Venezuela and the peoples of the world at his death. I pray that this is not an end to this chapter of Venezuala and that the work he has done for the people will continue with your new president, Nicolas Maduro.”
Diane wrote: “I would like to send my prayers to the family of President Chávez. I have not always agreed with some of his statements or actions, but I have found him to be an honorable person. I will put his name in the book of prayers at mass this Sunday.”
Daniel and Anni wrote: “Please accept our condolences on the death of President Chavez. We greatly admired his efforts to better the lives of Venezuelans, and he died much too early.”
Leslie of Howard County Friends of Latin America in Maryland, wrote: “Our deepest regrets for this great loss for the Venezuelan people and all people around the world who struggle for a more just and united world. I hope that Venezuelans know and can defend the achievements of Comrade President Hugo Chávez.”
On the Embassy’s Facebook page, James from Michigan wrote: “I wanted to say how sorry I am for your loss. President Chavez was an inspiration to many Americans like myself and I will truly miss him. Best of luck to your country in the future.”
Manolo in Washington, DC, wrote: “My deepest affection and solidarity with the Venezuelan people in this difficult moment.”
Steven in Chicago wrote: “My condolences to the People of Venezuela, God Bless Hugo Chavez!”
Max in Massachusetts wrote: “On behalf of the People of the United States, I wish to pass along my condolences to the People of Venezuela with regards to the death of hero and socialist President Hugo Chavez. We grieve with you.”
A woman named Roslyn wrote: “I want to send my deepest sympathies to the people of Venezuela! President Chavez did so much to reach out and help the poor by donating heating oil to the poor in the U.S…. I will always love President Chavez’s soul… Please – let’s keep the connection open between US Citizens and Venezuelan Citizens.”
Similarly, Joan wrote: “Please accept our sincere sympathy. We were saddened to hear of the death of your leader Hugo Chavez. I had hoped that our country would have gotten to know him better and have a more informed opinion of him. We won’t forget his generosity to Joe Kennedy and the people of Massachusetts.”
George in Baltimore wrote: “My deepest sympathies to Venezuela and its people. I’ve always tried to look beyond the propaganda machine and I felt that Hugo Chavez was doing his best to repair his country from imperialism and exploitation. He cared for the poor and that is rare if not non-existent these days in a national leader.”
Jean echoed the sentiments of many other Facebook fans of the Embassy with the following message: “Desperately sorry to hear the sad news; a great man, a hero to all of us. The repercussions of his work may yet save the world!”
Messages continue to be sent to the Embassy on twitter, as well, in English and Spanish as well in many other languages including French, Italian, German, and Arabic.
Press Office – Venezuelan Embassy to the U.S. / March 6, 2013