The red tide mourns Hugo Chavez

A Venezuelan national flag (L) is seen as the coffin of deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is driven through the streets of Caracas. Credit: Reuters
A Venezuelan national flag (L) is seen as the coffin of deceased Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez is driven through the streets of Caracas.
Credit: Reuters

The red tide of Chávez, who often accompanied the deceased Hugo Chávez in his shows of force on the street, was deployed Wednesday in Caracas. But this time it didn’t sing nor shout. It only cried. There were only tears and Ali Primera’s, Victor Jara’s or Silvio Rodriguez’s of Venezuela music seemed to live in a city again split in two: half of Caracas showed its pain while another half decided to close the doors of their businesses in a heavy and dense environment, even tense at some points.

The epicenter was Bolivarian Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital. At 10:30 came the coffin from where Chávez has allegedly spent the last days of convalescence. Still in the hospital doors, the tears of Chavez’s mother, while next to the coffin, touched many of the soldiers who carried it. Elena cried while listening to the priest preaching: “He who believes in you, Lord, shall never die.”

Chaos, pushing and dozens of people dressed in red walked next to the wooden box with the remains of the charismatic leader. The national anthem accompanied the output before starting a tour of the streets to the Military Academy. Here, he will be veiled until Friday, when there will be a state funeral attended by all the great leaders of Latin America. On Saturday, the remains of the coup commander will be buried in the shade of a tree in his native Barinas.

The coffin was placed in an open vehicle and after him went thousands of people dressed in red. Among them, walked the new interim president Nicolás Maduro, who, thanks to his height, stood out from the mass and walked in sadness. Maduro is called to lead the country until the next general election, which will be held between 4 and 8 weeks. In the polls, he’ll face Henrique Capriles, the opposition leader.

“He’s gone physically, but he left a seed we, the youth, reap today to not abandon the revolutionary struggle anymore,” explained an excited young woman who, under the intense sun of Caracas, was wearing a shirt with the eyes of Chávez enshrined.

From the PA sounded verses from singer Ali Primera, the same that Maduro forgot during his historic address. With the help of Elias Jaua, Chancellor, it is now the great slogan of the ruling: “Who died for life cannot be called dead.”


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