The American Right loved to hate him. How could they not? Hugo Chavez provoked the corporate state and challenged American imperialism. In response, he was caricaturized as communist dictator, though his version of socialism was not State Socialism but participatory and cooperative.
In truth, he was democratically elected, over and over, and was immensely popular, not least among the poor. And while critics may take him to task for making common ground with other, less democratic, foes of America, the same critics rarely speak of America’s dictatorial allies.
And though Chavez often clashed with Church hierarchy, he was a Catholic and died in the good graces of the Church. Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino prayed a funeral Mass for him in Rome after the state funeral. Whatever his faults, love of the poor covers a multitude of sins.
Although many Americans hate to admit it, it is hard to argue with the results of Chavez’ policies: