Chavez's Fight for Peace

Voices from around the world on Hugo Chavez and his legacy in the cause of peace.

Late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is remembered for his firebrand speeches and radical reforms in his native Venezuela.

The Latin American leader also had a profound impact on the world stage, not only for his calls against war and conflict, but also for his actions aimed at pushing for peace.

From his personal involvement in the release of hostages in Colombia, to his support for Palestinian right to statehood, to his calls for a political solution to the Syrian conflict, Chavez devoted considerable energy to the cause of peace in countries ravaged by violence.

In doing so, Chavez earned the ire of the powerful but also the admiration of millions, especially those affected by the conflicts he intervened in. 

teleSUR spoke to some of those people about how they remember the Venezuelan leader and his struggle for peace.


Palestinian artist Frans O. Alsalmi paints a mural of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat along with late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

When I thought of a figure to draw beside the Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, I thought of some one who was worth it, someone who firmly supported the Palestinian cause and the rights of the Palestinian people against Israeli aggression. Chavez is someone who all Palestinians love, not only artists but also the ordinary people. Of course, we Palestinians would love such a personality who stands by our side.

One of Chavez's famous sayings to the Palestinians was "Venezuela is for you. Venezuela is for Palestine." Anther one is “you hold your sword in one hand and an olive in the other hand. You should not hand over your sword.” This means that the Palestinian people do not seek aggression they want peace and freedom.

Frans O. Alsalmi, Palestinian artist


Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez addresses the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2006. 
Chavez referred to U.S. President George W. Bush as "the devil" during this speech. (Photo: Reuters)

In 2006, shortly after my first peace camp in Crawford, Texas to confront the person who I felt murdered my son Casey , George Bush, I was invited to Caracas, Venezuela to attend the World Social Forum.

At one point during the forum, I was pulled out of a meeting to go to the presidential palace, Miraflores, to meet with President Chavez. Along with a few colleagues, he gave us a tour of some of the places where the U.S.-C.I.A. backed coup attempt occurred in April of 2002 — a living "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised," with our guide being the "star" of the show. Chavez not only survived that coup attempt, because of his people, but also thrived as the socialist/anti-imperialist president of Venezuela for 14 years before his untimely passing. 

In my opinion, Hugo Chavez was a figure of enormous significance in the 21st century and history will recognize not only his leadership, but his profound humanity and compassion for the oppressed and unfortunate. Venezuela is fortunate that he had such a strong personality, even for such a short time.


Peace activist and member of Colombia's Patriotic Union Party, Lilia Solano holds a picture of her meeting with Hugo Chavez. 

The Colombian people have an enormous debt of gratitude to President Chavez. At a moment when the doors, the windows and the roof were completely closed to a peace process, President Chavez ran a tremendous risk to tell Colombia and the world that it was possible, through gestures of peace, for a new dialogue and peace negotiations to begin with the guerrilla.

Chavez ran a tremendous risk to tell Colombia and the world that it was possible

How did he do this? Though this idea of the liberation of kidnapped or detained individuals. And the Colombian society understood this. He paid a very high price, because he was criticized. And the Colombian people can never forget that without Chavez we would not be in the middle of peace negotiations or a peace process, and peace would be even more unattainable.

Lilia Solano, International Relations for the Patriotic Union


Hugo Chavez with former Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) Chair Tony Benn (far left), former CND Chair and current Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (far right) and CND member and Labour Shadow Minister Diane Abbott (second from right). (Photo: Lee Brown)

UK: Chavez and Nuclear Disarmament

A staunch anti-imperialist, Chavez opposed the war on Iraq, supported the rights of the Palestinians, stood against foreign military intervention, and against the nuclear hypocrisy of the west in its war-mongering against Iran.

The constitution introduced under his leadership in 1999 included nuclear disarmament

In short, on the key issues there was little to divide the policies of Hugo Chavez and the peace movements of the world. And the constitution introduced under his leadership in 1999 included nuclear disarmament as a principle of the basis on which countries should relate.

Dr Kate Hudson, general secretary of Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament 


Venezuelan women hold Caracas rally against military intervention in Syria on Sept. 3, 2013. (Photo: Alba Ciudad) 

Venezuela lives in our blood and our hearts. It was an indescribable feeling when standing next to this great man, and especially when you saw people cover him in flowers.

For Syrians, Chavez is the model of a leader, who stands by the oppressed, and everyone trying to reach him, just for the chance to touch him. Can you imagine that on one of Chavez's visits to Syria, the people here carried his car with their hands. It was a sign of the tremendous amount of love for him.

Saleh Nasser, member and founder of the Syrian-Venezuelan Friendship Association