Hugo Chavez was a massive inspiration to those fighting for social justice and standing up against grinding poverty and social exclusion, the leader of Britain and Ireland’s largest union, Unite said today (6 March).
Responding to the death of the Venezuelan president, Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “The executive of Unite, the biggest union in Britain and Ireland, wishes to express its deep sadness on behalf of its 1.5 million members at the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Our sincere condolences go to his family and the people of Venezuela.
“Hugo Chavez and the Bolivarian Revolution have been a massive inspiration for all those engaged in the fight for social justice and who believe that another world is possible.
“He embodied and represented a people who refused to accept that grinding poverty and social exclusion could be tolerated while massive wealth was stockpiled in the hands of a few.
“Under his leadership Venezuela has been transformed beyond recognition for the better. The control of the country’s huge natural resources has been placed back in the hands of the people and the wealth used to improve the lives of millions.
“For the first time Venezuela’s poor have received medical attention when they needed it while housing and social care have been massively improved.
“On the international stage Venezuela stood on the side of all countries that have rejected US led interventions and sought to chart their own independent course of development.
“Together they have demonstrated that a system of domination and exploitation designed to benefit a tiny elite can be successfully challenged, and that an alternative based on cooperation equality and fairness can be built.
“This has been an enormous inspiration to a generation of activists across the world who will continue to mobilise in pursuit of these goals.
“The passing of Chavez will most particularly be felt by the Venezuelan trade union movement. Last year the Chávistas introduced a labour code that guarantees new rights for Venezuelan workers and unions. We send our condolences to the leadership and members of the Central Socialista Bolivariana de los Trabajadores (CSBT).
“Unite stands shoulder to shoulder with the Venezuelan people in this difficult time and will continue to work with all like-minded forces to defend the gains that have been made in the pursuit of justice and equality.”
Contact Unite press office on 020 3371 2065
Notes to editors:
Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with 1.5 million members working across all sectors of the economy.