Alexander Lukashenko addresses all Belarusian citizens and representatives of the international community regarding the death of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chбvez:
‘Our hearts are paralysed by this sad news. Our close and trusted friend, our brother — the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chбvez — has died.
Without trying to conceal our tears, we grieve alongside the Venezuelan people, mourning the tragic, sudden death of Hugo Chбvez — one of the greatest statesmen and leaders of our time: a great hero, passionate patriot and fighter for independence, an outstanding politician, thinker and speaker, an exceptionally strong man who loved life and who dedicated his entire life to the service of his country.
Under the leadership of Hugo Chбvez — the heir and successor of the noble cause led by Simon Bolivar — Venezuela rid itself of the heavy and hateful burden of poverty and underdevelopment. It broke free from political and economic suppression by foreign countries. President Chбvez firmly and strongly led his country to happiness and freedom. He was, and I am sure he will remain, in the hearts of millions of people, a true father of the Venezuelan nation — a protector of the poor, suppressed and underprivileged. He will always be a beacon of hope at the heart of South-American democracy.
We’ve lost a close relative and our best friend, who passionately loved Belarus and was always there for us when we needed help. Our joint work for the benefit of Belarus and Venezuela, as well as our warm and friendly relationship, will remain among my most treasured memories.
The name of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chбvez Frнas, is engraved in the annals of our history in golden letters; he and his deeds will be eternally remembered.
Today, in this hour of sorrow and pain, we express our deepest condolences to Hugo Chбvez’s relatives and those who were close to him, as well as to all citizens of Venezuela. In the name of the memory of your great leader, we solemnly promise to execute and fulfil our joint projects, continuing our policy of friendship and mutual assistance. We will do all we can to further strengthen and develop our collaboration — for the benefit of both our countries.
Rest in peace, our friend and brother, Hugo Chбvez. Your cause will live forever’.
Upon the instruction of Mr. Lukashenko, early in the morning on March 6th, state flags were lowered over the Residence of the President of Belarus and over other state institutions countrywide for three days.
All TV and radio channels have been asked to only broadcast more serious programmes. The Republic of Belarus joins other countries in mourning the passing of the Venezuelan leader.
The flag is lowered over the Belarusian President’s Residence, honouring the passing of a kind and reliable friend of our country. We are mourning... as the fate of remote Venezuela’s leader is bound closely with Belarus’ recent history. Hugo Chбvez Frias confessed his respect and sympathy for our nation and remained faithful to his words until the end, true to everything of which he spoke.
Last June, I saw Mr. Chбvez for the last time, during Alexander Lukashenko’s official visit to Venezuela, a few months before the presidential elections. Mr. Chбvez had been struggling with illness for over a year, twice being operated upon. He’d endured chemotherapy and radiotherapy but remained full of energy. He adhered to the norms of protocol but his personality continued to show through during a long TV interview with Mr. Lukashenko. Taking a leading role, the live broadcast went out to millions of citizens — including those in regions where Belarusian specialists have been working on projects. Mr. Chбvez’s sincerity was clear to all.
At end of the broadcast, Mr. Lukashenko left Miraflores Palace but the Venezuelan president continued chatting with journalists for several hours. Translators were hardly needed, since his facial expressions told their own story, as did the tone of his voice. His words penetrated the soul, making it clear why his nation loved him.
Hugo was sincere and fair, never wheedling or currying favour. He openly mentioned enemies and friends: the former hated him furiously while the latter loved him passionately. Nobody could be indifferent to him. If he named someone his ‘friend’, it was forever and he would move mountains in their support. For Belarus, this took the form of the supply of Venezuelan oil to Belarus during a difficult period. Analysts on both sides of the ocean sneered at the project but Mr. Chбvez simply loaded tanks and sent them across the Atlantic — saving Belarusian plants from being shut down.
Mr. Chбvez was decisive and obstinate in every respect. He believed in the ideals of his struggle — even after his first loss in the early 1990s, which brought imprisonment. This only strengthened his mission however: to bring happiness and prosperity to his country, friends and neighbours in Latin America. He was eager to unite states, in the name of mutual support, while enabling them to keep their independence. He was a true patriot and an authoritative leader. Unsurprisingly, not only Venezuela is mourning; neighbouring Argentina, Cuba, Bolivia and Ecuador are grieving...
Many wonder why Mr. Chбvez did not retire from politics on learning of his illness. Why did he run for president that last time, using his precious strength? Only Mr. Chбvez knows the real answer but we do know that his life was dedicated to the ideals of socialism. I’m convinced that he could leave only as a winner. Such people are respected and remembered.
Commandant Hugo Chбvez
Alexander Lukashenko addresses all Belarusian citizens and representatives of the international community regarding the death of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chбvez:‘Our hearts are paralysed by this sad news. Our close and trusted friend, our brother — the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chбvez — has died.