New Delhi: Left parties on Wednesday expressed grief at the death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, terming him an "iconic crusader" against US imperialism who symbolised radical transformations in Latin America.
Chavez was "an epic figure who symbolised the radical transformations taking place in Latin America" and initiated the Bolivarian revolutionary process that "enabled Venezuela to take control of its destiny by asserting national sovereignty and control over all the vital resources of the country including oil and gas," the CPI(M) Politburo said.
In his 14-year-long presidentship, it said the Venezuelan people got health facilities, education and literacy as never before. Poverty was drastically reduced, it said, adding that Chavez was set on taking his country towards socialism.
CPI Central Secretariat said Chavez, who was re-elected with a landslide majority for the fourth time, had nationalised the huge oil and gas industry, made available good healthcare and education to the poorest and helped other Latin American countries "who wanted to get out of the exploitative claws of the US and other imperialist powers."
"With the wise counsel of Fidel Castro, Chavez blazed the trail of socialism of 21st Century and brought it on the political agenda. By laying the foundation of Latin America`s Bank and the Bolivarian Alternative, he rescued the countries of that continent from the clutches of the World Bank and the IMF," it said, adding that these nations, once called the `backyard` of the US, "have today become symbols of democratic and progressive initiative."
CPI(ML)-Liberation said Chavez tried to unite Venezuela, Bolivia, Cuba, Argentina, Brazil and other nations to isolate the US in Latin American politics and counter the US domination in Latin America.
"This unity, initiated by Chavez, posed a huge challenge to the long history of US plunder, corporate loot, state repression and CIA-backed coups in Latin America," it said.