by Lady Michelle-Jennifer Santos, Founder & Publisher
March 7, 2013 (TSR) – Since the very early hours of Thursday, senior Cuban government officials and a massive representation of the Cuban people have flocked to pay meaningful and patriotic tribute today to late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frías, amid countrywide grief for the death of the beloved leader and a very close friend.
The death of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez is having a strong impact on Cuba, where the people considered the Bolivarian president an indispensable leader for the struggle of Latin American independence.
Cuban TV channels and 100 local radio stations simultaneously aired the sad news, when it was announced on Tuesday by Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas.
Shocked and heartbroken, the Cuban government and its people released their official statement on Tuesday afternoon:
With deep and lacerating pain, our people and the Revolutionary government learned of the death of President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías and are preparing to pay him a heartfelt and patriotic tribute on his entry into history as an independence leader of Our America.
We offer our sincere condolences to his parents, brothers, daughters and son and all his family members, who are already ours, just as Chávez is also a son of Cuba, of Latin America and the Caribbean, and of the world.
In this moment of profound sadness, we share the closet sentiments of solidarity with the sister Venezuelan people, who we will accompany in all circumstances.
The Bolivarian Revolution will have our resolute and unrestricted support during these difficult days.
We reiterate our support, encouragement and faith in victory to our compañeros in the Bolivarian political-military leadership and the Venezuelan government.
President Chávez has led an extraordinary battle throughout his youthful and fertile life. We will always remember him as a patriotic soldier in the service of Venezuela and the Patria Grande [Greater Homeland]; as an honest, lucid, daring and courageous revolutionary fighter; as a leader and supreme comandante who reincarnated Bolívar in order to do what Bolívar was unable to complete; founder of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States.
His heroic and indefatigable fight against death is an unsurpassable example of fortitude. The admirable commitment of his doctors and nurses has been a feat of humanism and dedication.
The President’s return to the Venezuelan homeland, which he loved so much, changed history. “We have a homeland,” Chávez exclaimed with emotion last December 8, and he returned there to confront the greatest risks imposed by his illness. Nothing and nobody can seize the restored homeland from the Venezuelan people.
All of Chávez’ work appears undefeated before us. The attainments of the revolutionary people who saved him from the coup in April 2002 and have unhesitatingly followed him, are now irreversible.
The Cuban people feel him as one of their most outstanding sons and have admired him, followed him and loved him as their own. Chávez is also Cuban! He experienced as his own our difficulties and problems and did as much as he could, with extraordinary generosity, especially in the hardest years of the Special Period. He accompanied Fidel as a true son and his friendship with Raúl was extremely close.
He excelled in international battles in the face of imperialism, always in defense of the poor, of the workers, of our peoples. Impassioned, persuasive, eloquent, ingenious and moving, he spoke from the hearts of the peoples, sang of our joys, and declaimed our impassioned poems with perennial optimism.
The tens of thousands of Cubans working in Venezuela will honor him with their impassioned fulfillment of revolutionary internationalism and will continue accompanying the epic feat of the Bolivarian people with honor and altruism.
Cuba will sustain eternal loyalty to the memory and legacy of Comandante President Chávez and will resolutely continue his ideals of the unity of the revolutionary forces and of the integration and independence of Our America.
His example will lead us in coming battles.
¡Hasta la victoria siempre!
The government declared an official mourning that started from March 6, 6:00 p.m., until March 7, midnight, and National Mourning is scheduled for March 8.
During the Official Mourning, it was decreed that the national flag will be hoisted at half-mast in public buildings and military establishments, while during National Mourning, all public shows and festive activities are suspended.
The First Vice President of the Councils of State and Ministers Miguel Diaz Canel Bermudez, Vice President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura and the Cuban Parliament President Esteban Lazo, along with the Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba, the top Cuban leaders laid flowers before an image of the Venezuelan Commander, were first to pay tribute on behalf of the Cuban people to the late leader and close friend of the Cuban Revolution and its sons and daughters, guarded by soldiers.
Thousands lined up early Wednesday morning at Havana’s Revolution Square to pay their respects to the unforgettable Venezuelan statesman. Some work centers spontaneously hoisted the Cuban flag to half-mast, in a sign of mourning, while photos of Chavez were posted in numerous public places.
Cuban Government and Military Officials pay homage to Hugo
The president of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Army General Raul Castro headed the posthumous homage paid by the Cuban people to Venezuelan leader Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias.
Cuban President Raul Castro paid tribute at the Antonio Maceo Revolution Square in eastern Santiago de Cuba province, accompanied by first Communist Party secretary in the territory, Lazaro Exposito.
Raul laid a flower before an image of the Bolivarian Commander placed at the base of the monument to Antonio Maceo, in Santiago’s Revolution Square.
Meanwhile, the homage-paying ceremony at Havana’s Jose Marti Square was headed by Cuba’s first vice-president Miguel Diaz-Canel and second secretary of Cuba’s Communist Party Jose Ramon Machado Ventura.
Parliament President Esteban Lazo; Venezuelan ambassador to Cuba, Edgardo Ramirez; members of the Political Bureau of Cuba’s Communist party, and of the Councils of State and Minister also paid homage to Hugo Chavez in Havana.
Cuban vice-president Jose Ramon Machado Ventura described the passing away of Hugo Chavez as a big loss for Venezuela, Latin America and for Cuba.
Machado Ventura, who is the second secretary of the Cuban Communist Party Central Committee, signed the Hugo Chávez book of condolences today which was made available at the Venezuelan embassy in Havana.
The top government Cuban official stressed the close relations between Venezuela and Cuba, particularly marked by their common ideas about Latin American unity.
Machado Ventura, who paid guard of honor to Hugo Chavez at the diplomatic mission, affirmed that Cuba will keep its permanent support of the Venezuelan people.
The minister of Cuba’s Revolutionary Armed Forces, Army Corps General Leopoldo Citra Frias also signed the book of condolences in Havana and was accompanied by the deputy minister of the Cuban Revolutionary Armed Forces Army Corps General Alvaro Lopez Miera.
According to Granma newspaper, the top-ranking Cuban military officer also laid a wreath, while other Cuban and Venezuelan military officers and civilian workers with the military institution also paid tribute in honor of the Venezuelan President.
Thousands across the country are rendering deserved homage to Hugo Chávez, whose life-work and legacy they’ll never forget.
The Cuban tribute is taking place at the José Martí Memorial in Havana’s Plaza de la Revolución, from 8:00am to 8:00pm, while Cubans resident outside of the capital are honoring the unforgettable Comandante in the country’s provincial capitals and on the Isle of Youth.