Uruguayan president Jose Mujica called for unity and responsibility in Venezuela, ‘to fight for freedom and peace’ and cautioned that big contradictions in a society are not squashed but conducted. He also called on Brazil to lead the region but warned: “not creating a new regional empire”.
Interviewed on Friday in Caracas by BBC World in Spanish, Mujica said that the deceased Venezuelan leader was “a friend” but being friends “does not mean smiling with affection” but rather “coming to the rescue when things get rough”.
“And Chavez from that point of view…there has been nothing like him in Latinamerican history. That is why one understands he applied in his own way a militant and committed ‘Latinamericanism’. And he also has shown us a lesson because you can always do something for the weakest or those in worse conditions. That is the legacy of Chavez, yes we have lost a very close and dear friend”, said Mujica.
The Uruguayan president forecasted that in the short term there won’t be any figure that represents the symbolic role played by Chavez, “because when a big tree falls there is a gigantic vacuum” and there are “men that symbolize causes”.
“It’s time to fight for freedom and for peace in Venezuela” said Mujica impressed by the outpour of people parading by the coffin of Chavez at the Military School chapel in Caracas, and made a strong recommendation, “I hope they have the ability of being able to conduct all this. Because the contradictions in a society are not squashed but rather conducted”.
“They (Venezuelans) need to access a cycle of maturity and enormous responsibility, because they are taking off with an impressive capital. And for something to have a legacy, decisively positive, you must have the wisdom to influence on your adversaries. Because you don’t rule only with those who support you; you also rule with those who are against, and for those who are against you and for the children of those who are against… But the opposition must also act with intelligence. And true intelligence is ensuring peace with freedom”, argued Mujica.
Likewise as the Venezuelans like to chant now “we are all Chavez”, but being Chavez is not something personal or individual, it is in a group, in strong unity otherwise the “I’m Chavez” dilutes…
Mujica strong call on Venezuelans for unity also extended to the role that Brazil must play as leader in the region. Contrary to political analysts who believe that Argentina’s Cristina Fernandez will take the Chavez relay, Mujica said that Brazil has a ‘historic responsibility’ of going ahead with the task of integration, but “without creating a new regional empire”.
“The daring step to help Venezuela join Mercosur as full member was to subscribe a commitment: Brazil is effectively committed with Venezuela. Brazil is a continent and will be more of a continent if it takes on the historic responsibility of leading but without squashing. And since the current government of Brazil is undoubtedly republican, I believe it will realize the task that it has ahead. And some of us, much smaller will have the independence to remember Brazil on this, insistently”, pointed out the Uruguayan president.
He went on to say that sometimes being small has advantages, because we can say things we think with clarity and directly. We must help Brazil in addressing that task, concluded Mujica.