This was how Prime Minister Freudel Stuart described the late President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez. Offering condolences to the people of Venezuela on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados this evening at the Venezuelan Embassy in Hastings, Christ Church, Stuart said Chavez, who died on Tuesday after a long fight with cancer, was a friend to the poor, the marginalised and the English-speaking Caribbean and he would not be forgotten easily. Directly addressing Venezuelan Ambassador, Jos√ Gomez Febres, he said if things were at all possible “I would have made every effort to be there” attend the late leader’s funeral, which is scheduled to take place tomorrow.
“He was a very good friend …, an eloquent voice in the promotion of inter-American solidarity… He was fearless, a friend of the poor and marginalised. His passing creates a vacuum in that regard because quite frankly it is not fashionable to be an advocate for causes of the poor or the marginalised,” the Prime Minister said.
“His voice, having been stilled, will be missed by all people who are committed to the cause of the advancement of disadvantaged people the world over. So I would like to, on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados, extend heartfelt condolences to the people of Venezuela as I feel their pain and sense of loss and I hope that they will get over this very soon, although I think President Chavez was one of those political persons who is not easily forgotten and it will take some time for him to recede into the background of people’s consciousness.” “The causes for which he stood and fought, the causes which he allowed himself to be a representative of, will long outlive him and we who are left are clear as to what our responsibilities are in the promotion of those noble causes,” he added. Febres, in turn, said he was very appreciative of Stuart’s sentiments and of the relationship nurtured between the countries. (KC)