Chavez and Racial Identity

Racially, most Jamaicans , although they may not know it  shared a common colonial legacy or retention. Chavez is of African descent. In an article written by Nickolas Kpzloff , Chavez revealed his connection to blacks by stating that on application to the military academy he was sporting an Afro.

Physically, Hugo Chávez is a pardo, a term used in the colonial period to denote someone of mixed racial roots. “Chávez’s features,” writes a magazine columnist, “are a dark-copper color and as thick as clay; he has protruding, sensuous lips and deep-set eyes under a heavy brow. His hair is black and kinky. He is a burly man of medium height, with a long, hatchet-shaped nose and a massive chin and jaw.” In an interview, Chávez remarked that when he first applied to the military academy he had an Afro. From an ethno-racial standpoint, Chávez is similar to many of his fellow Venezuelans. Indeed, today 67 per cent of the population is mestizo, 10 per cent black and 23 per cent white. Chávez himself has not sought to distance himself from his ethnic heritage. “My Indian roots are from my father’s side,” he remarked. “He [my father] is mixed Indian and black, which makes me very proud.” What is more, Chávez has boasted of his grandmother, who he says was a Pumé Indian. Like many other Venezuelans of mixed race, Chávez grew up in poverty. One of six children, Chávez was born in extremely humbling conditions in the llano. “I was a farm kid from the plains of South Venezuela,” he remarked to Ted Koppel on ABC’s Nightline. “I grew up in a palm tree house with an earthen floor,” he added. Chávez entered the military, which historically has been one of the few paths towards social advancement for men of mixed race. While on duty with the military he toured the country and became aware of economic hardships and suppression of black Venezuelans. This is the situation with most persons of Afro descent, the whole Latin American society marginalized them.

Hugo Chavez was part black wore afroThe masses of Jamaicans are without economic power because Britain made sure the plantation masters were compensated at emancipation. Then she made sure that Jamaicans with light skin/complexion were pivoted into a second tier to keep the black masses dispossessed and marginalized, so at the genesis of emancipation, few blacks left the plantation with anything but their clothes , literally their clothes. Bear in  mind that it is only in the 20th century that most black persons could afford shoes.

In South America, the situation was worse. Blacks were murdered just to keep them in fear for demanding their  freedom.The 1898 War of Independence fought mostly by black Cubans did not reward the victors as by 1906 white Cubans  spurred on by  some  western  military  interest of the day , turned  their backs on their  black liberators  who wanted a national government  and murdered 6000  of them in the Race Wars including  many persons of Haitian and Jamaican descent . Argentina sent the blacks to the front to fight their wars and completely decimated the black population with the slogan ,”Keep Argentina white.”


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Winston Donald

My name is Winston Donald. I am currently completing a MA in Cultural Studies researching Street Art ( from a cultural studies perspective) I am Recruiting Officer and Enrollment Officer for University College of the Caribbean, New Kingston. I contribute to the Commonwealth Short StoryCompetition Columnist for the defunct Sunday Herald Newspaper Author on Marijuana : Export trade and Rural economics (manuscript being completed) Author on Rural Jamaican Cooking Creator of The Diaspora - Word Press blog Contributor to Sun Sentinel newspaper of South Florida Regular/Frequent contributor to the Gleaner and Observer newspaper

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