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OAS Permanent Council Pays Posthumous Tribute to President Hugo Chávez

  March 15, 2013

The Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) today paid a posthumous tribute to the President of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez Frías, who died on March 5. After placing a wreath at the statue of Simon Bolivar at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC, representatives of the member and observer countries of the hemispheric organization opened a special meeting of the Permanent Council, in memory of the Venezuelan leader, observing a minute of silence.

The Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Insulza, highlighted "the enormous demonstration of unity and solidarity that has been presented today at the organization to convey our condolences to the people and government of Venezuela on the death of their President, Hugo Chávez." Insulza, who attended the funeral of Chávez in Caracas last week, said it was "stirring to see the pain, sadness and strength of the Venezuelan people, shown in such a moving way in their farewell to their leader.”

The OAS leader recalled that he was present when Chávez first took office in 1999. "How can I forget when he said, looking at Congress: Gentlemen I am not the cause, I am the consequence. President Chávez thought he was there because of the failure of a system and a government that had administered the enormous wealth of a country for the benefit of a few, and he thought that wealth should be administered for the benefit of many. And no one denies that he did."

Secretary General Insulza recalled that Chávez faced difficulties in his first term, noting that "in 2002 he had to face an oil strike and an attempted coup d’état, and then a recall referendum in 2004."

The leader of the hemispheric institution mentioned the important role he played during the crisis between Colombia and Ecuador in 2008. "I remember during a meeting of the Rio Group, he said, we are Latinos, we are Caribbeans, but maybe it's time to come to an agreement. That side of Hugo Chávez is not often remembered, and it is also not often remembered the enormous effort he made ​​toward the end of his life to unify the region."

The Permanent Representative of Venezuela to the OAS, Roy Chaderton, offered his gratitude "in the name of the people of Venezuela, for this noble tribute to our inspiring leader, Hugo Chávez." "Chávez is dead, for now," said the Venezuelan diplomat, who evoked the Spanish hero El Cid to ensure those present that "Chávez, even after death, will continue to win battles and elections."

"The millions of mourners that spilled onto the streets and squares of Venezuela for ten days without a single incident show the civic and political consciousness of a people educated politically by Chávez. We do not need to look for the bronze or marble, because Chavez, the statesman and military figure who roars, laughs, sings and smiles, is sculpted in living flesh into the skins of all colors, in the hair of all textures, and in the bones of all the Venezuelans that he liberated," said Ambassador Chaderton.

The Venezuelan diplomat concluded his speech with a direct message to the late President, stating that it was his "only complaint:" "You broke our hearts and shattered our souls, but our determination remains intact. Venezuela's future is secure; we will protect our democracy, our social justice and our country’s sovereignty, building socialism, meeting our democratic commitments to the people and the international community."

For his part, the Chair of the Permanent Council and Representative of Nicaragua, Denis Moncada, offered on behalf of the body that he leads his "heartfelt condolences to the people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, to its government, and to the family of the comrade commander President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías"

Ambassador Moncada said that Chávez "was a great leader of the twenty-first century, a leader without precedent in the history of Venezuela and in recent decades in Latin America and the Caribbean. He was an extraordinary man of high political and social sensitivity who was noted for his humanistic spirit." In addition, the Nicaraguan diplomat added that the Venezuelan President stood out as a "tireless fighter for peace, justice, unity, independence and equality among nations."

During the meeting, statements were made by the representatives of Mexico, El Salvador, Guyana, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Grenada, Colombia, Saint Lucia, the United States, Dominica, Argentina, Chile, Haiti, Panama, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, Peru, Canada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, The Bahamas, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Honduras, Barbados, Belize and Suriname. The observers from France and Russia also took the floor.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

The video of the event is available here.

The B-roll of the event will be available here.

The audio of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at

Reference: E-095/13