Read it here.
I will miss him. I know many will. It's my considered opinion that Chavez was the greatest statesman, and the strongest single progressive force, the world had seen in decades. His determination, great heart and wily political acumen pushed all of Latin America to the left. Aside from his direct political efforts to increase horizontal ties among Latin American and Caribbean countries, the vast energy and attention spent on him by the US was a great help to other leftist movements simply because they sheltered in his shade, moved lower on the agenda of the coupsters and death squad mongers as they tied themselves in knots trying to get rid of Chavez.
And domestically his record is unrivalled. Yes, there were contradictions, and of course no record or human being is perfect. But compared to every other progressive government or movement on the planet, Venezuela forged ahead both on direct improvements to people's lives, reducing poverty, giving access to health care and education and food, reducing unemployment and on and on, and with the incredible proliferation of direct popular movements taking decision-making power into the people's hands, from the communal councils to community media.
And it is to the people and the popular movements of Venezuela that we must look now. I hope, I trust, that they will struggle with ever greater vigor and show the world the power of the good example despite all the forces of plutocracy can do to try to stop them.