Two years after the death of Hugo Chávez, Venezuelan supporters filled the streets to remember the man they called “Comandante.”
From President Nicolás Maduro to local citizens, thousands of Venezuelans paid homage to the polarizing former president, who died of abdominal cancer on March 5, 2013.
The day began with an “anti-imperialism” rally in Caracas, led by Maduro, who told the gathered crowd they had to “struggle against imperialism, stop those who would detain the construction of the fatherland.”
Family members and other mourners later paid their respects at the military museum in Caracas that contains Chávez’s tomb.
Chávez’s daughter María Gabriela published a message to her father, concluding it with “I love you, I cry for you, I live for you and I fight for you” and a photo of the two embracing.
Venezuela’s typically active social media users took to their networks to share photos, speeches and other remembrances of the former leader, many under the hashtag #A2AñosDeTuSiembra (Two years after you were placed in the ground).
Some shared works of art,
— roberto pineda (@ffmunda) March 5, 2015
while others shared old photos.
— Reyna Araque (@Reyna_Araque) March 5, 2015
Comandante, #A2AnosDeTuSiembra seguimos en batalla, profundizando el Socialismo, con el Pueblo, siempre con tu Pueblo.
— Jorge Arreaza (@jaarreaza) March 5, 2015
“Commander, #A2AnosDeTuSiembre we continue in battle, deepening Socialism, with the people, always with your people.” – Jorge Arreaza, Vice President of Venezuela
— Nicolás Maduro (@NicolasMaduro) March 5, 2015
“#A2AñosDeTuSiembra here I stay loyal with our people, confronting wickedness and overcoming for your dream and our homeland..” – President Nicolás Maduro
Chávez’s life was commemorated by diplomatic figures and Latin American representatives as far away as Saudi Arabia and Russia. In Cuba, various commemorative events took place, with Cuban officials calling Chávez one of the country’s “great friends.”
Colombia’s FARC guerrilla group, currently in peace talks with the Colombian government in Havana, read a statement in honor of Chávez, calling him one of the “greatest representatives of the popular interests of our America.”
Members of the opposition, both within and outside of Venezuela, took advantage of the day to point out the economic crisis currently facing the country, where runaway inflation rates and scarcity of some resources has caused many to criticize the government.
One thing that both opposition leaders and Chavistas could agree on, though: “Everything was different when Chávez was here.”