Hugo Chavez was born July 28, 1954, and died March 5, 2013. Many people believe he was murdered. You can go here or here to read discussions on that question. Perhaps it’s sufficient to mention that Leamsy Salazar, a man who for several years was one of Chavez’s closest aids, is now reportedly living in the US under federal protection.
At any rate, Hugo Chavez was a friend of the Palestinians. You could probably stretch that a bit further and say he was a friend to all oppressed people on earth. Being a friend of the oppressed, no matter the personal cost to yourself–that’s what it means to be human. I sometimes get the feeling that humans are becoming a rare species these days.
Two nights from now, Carlos Santana will be performing in Israel. He has resisted numerous appeals, including campaigns on Twitter and Facebook, to cancel his show there. Thousands of people signed a petition asking him not to play–but to no avail. The show is scheduled to go on. In fact, earlier this month Santana recorded a message of “peace, love, and an end to conflict” to the Zionist occupiers of Palestine. You can go here to see the video of it.
I’m all in favor of peace and love, of course. But how does one perceive a message like that–to a country which just two summers ago killed some 2200 Palestinians, nearly 500 of whom were children, and whose citizens in the past have gathered on a hill overlooking Gaza to applaud as their army rained bombs down upon the terrified people below? Does it suggest that Carlos Santana’s heart is brimming and overflowing with humanity?
Or does it perhaps suggest the opposite?
Maybe it’s not for me to judge. However, I am reminded of the words of Jesus: “If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Hugo Chavez picked up his cross and carried it where it led him. He is remembered today with love and admiration. Carlos Santana, on the other hand, has found it felicitous to perform in an apartheid state whose leaders could face war crimes charges were they to venture into certain parts of the world without the cloak of diplomatic immunity. How will Carlos be remembered?
And if it were possible to measure the humanity of both men, Carlos Santana and Hugo Chavez, which do you think would come out on top?