As Venezuela’s leader since 1999, Hugo Chavez made strides to improve integration throughout Latin America. The Venezuelan president’s death, in March 2013, raises the question of whether his efforts to integrate Latin America will continue.
A proponent of Simón Bolívar’s mission to unite Latin America and to free it from external domination, Chavez is associated with the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our Americas (ALBA), the Bank of the South (BanSur) and the boost that Venezuela’s incorporation has given to the Southern Common Market (Mercosur). By contrast, for most Americans, Chavez’s controversial relationships with Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overshadow Chavez’s regional diplomacy.
Corporate news coverage has only briefly addressed Chavez’s efforts to integrate Latin America. For example, in covering Chavez’s death, both the Washington Post and Los Angeles Times focused on who would now lead Venezuela, downplaying or ignoring his contributions to uniting Latin America. As Roberto Savio reports, Chavez’s image has been “obscured by a series of ideological and cultural prejudices that hide a clear perception of who he was.”
Roberto Savio, “Latin American Integration, Post-Chávez,” IPS News, March 19, 2013, http://www.ipsnews.net/2013/03/latin-american-integration-post-chavez/
Paul Richter and Chris Kraul, “U.S.-Venezuela ties may warm post-Chavez,” Los Angeles Times, March 6, 2013, http://articles.latimes.com/2013/mar/06/world/la-fg-us-venezuela-20130306
Juan Forero and Emilia Diaz, “Leaders of Latin America’s new left gather to say farewell to Hugo Chavez,” Washington Post, March 7, 2013, http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-03-07/world/37519827_1_nicolas-maduro-21st-century-socialism-evo-morales
Student Researcher: Stevie Lee (College Of Marin)
Faculty Evaluator: Andy Lee Roth (College Of Marin)