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Chavismo lives!

The death of Hugo Chavez removes a rumbustious and all-prevasive personality from the scene, but what he stood for will still have a decisive impact on the whole American continent for decades to come.

He empowered the poor by including them in the political process from which they had always been excluded. He deepened democracy and kept on winning elections – 4 between 1999 and 2013.

He stood up to the US and spearheaded thousands of nationalisations, from energy and telecommunications to banks and farms. He seized assets from many big foreign companies, most notably removing from ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips their majority stakes in the Orinoco crude.

He even brought discount stores and clinics into the poorest barrios. His personality cult was not imposed by the megalomania of despots, but earned by the genuine adulation of the masses of ordinary Venezuelans. That movement will live on unbowed as a beacon for others.

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