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Words of Ch?vez: Today, February 15th! To be or not to be

The following is the eleventh edition of a column written by President Hugo Chávez Frías:

That path to today’s date, February 15th, has been long.  It is a glorious date, an illuminating date for strengthening democratic rights and powers.  Because that is the destiny we have chosen and that we are willing to pour our souls into achieving.  It is a historic time that commits us, a time for our ancestors and also a time for our grandchildren.  It will not be one more battle: this time we have the opportunity to clear the horizon, reinvigorating the future of a people committed to the lofty plans of the hour.

Progress for the dream and plan for freedom of our Founding Father, the Liberator, its embodiment and fulfillment, goes through what is awaiting us today: what was first conceived at the beginning of the 19th century, between the edge of reason and the edge of the sword, we can now strengthen on Sunday, with our firm will to give ourselves the right to be really and truly free, really and truly sovereign.

 What is in play today, February 15th, can be thought of as a dilemma that must be resolved by the People: to continue advancing toward the full exercise of the people’s sovereignty or the counterrevolutionary aim to stall and restrict revolutionary democracy.  This is the dilemma of Shakespeare’s Hamlet: to be (the Yes vote) or not to be (the No vote).

For ten years we have filled Venezuelan history with meaning: of Bolivarian, open, popular meaning; of constructive, creative and liberating meaning.  Before, history did not belong to us; others plotted it and we suffered it.  We were mere pawns in a macabre game of chess, used by the empire and its stateless mercenaries.  This changes and changed for good ten years ago: the People, descendants of great battles, a living embodiment of our struggles, has poured their blood, sweat, heart and soul into this revolution; we have been and continue to be, all of us, one sole protagonist starring in the transformations underway: transformations that will not yet end because the sacred wish we established for ourselves must continue: having a free homeland, a good and beautiful homeland, a socialist homeland, for us, for our children, for our children’s children.

I want to say that we have proposed an orientation for the country that has been shaped by successes and difficulties, it is true, but it has had the same horizon since we gave birth to it: it is our people becoming a more dignified People each day; a People that recognizes the journey and understands what the future demands of them.  In short: a People that knows that only united as brothers in the effort and staying on the path, will it be able to someday say that we are reaching the dream, the lofty dream of a definitively liberated homeland.  There should be no doubt then.  That is what is at stake with our decision, today, February 15th!

The great poet William Blake had an aphorism: “as ye sow so shall ye reap.”  This idea s useful for what I am trying to express.  Before this government arrived and what has arrived with it, were times of patience and laborious sowing.  We have reaped some, but not enough.  Today, February 15th, is the day to guarantee the beginning of the era of a great harvest: an era to fill our granaries of this lovely journey in which we are all committed for a future that truly belongs to us and is not just a simple accident of time and life.  Today, February 15th, following the Yes victory, we will well be able to say with the voice of a united People: The future begins to be ours!

We do not reside or live in a country.  We reside and live in a challenge, a challenge of the homeland.  That is why our victories will go beyond whatever we achieve; that is why trying to give consistency to democratic socialism is, for us, a permanent demand:  a frontier that must be overcome.

From this tireless effort, because we simply and candidly deserve it: the challenge of an authentic and revolutionary democracy, of full participation and full protagonism, is the idea that has dawned upon us; it is the powerful idea that should move us forward, because as Victor Hugo said: There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.

Finally, as is also written in Ecclesiastes: “There is a time for everything under the sun.”

It is therefore the time of the people...

That is why I repeat:

I am waiting for you there!

We shall overcome!

Hugo Chávez Frías / February 15, 2009

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