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Rawlings in Caracas to pay last respect to Chavez
From: Media Excel          Published On: March 15, 2013, 04:58 GMT
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Rawlings in Caracas to pay last respect to Chavez

Former President, Flt Lt Jerry John Rawlings left Accra on Wednesday for
Caracas, Venezuela to pay his respects to the fallen leader of the Bolivarian Republic Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias.

Mr Rawlings who enjoyed a good relationship with Hugo Chavez, described his loss as a huge blow to Africa and the rest of the developing world.

During his trip to Nigeria last week, the former Ghanaian leader lamented the failure of African leadership to show open sympathy on the passing of the Venezuelan leader. He wondered African leaders were refraining from openly commiserating with the Venezuelans due to fear of Western reprimand.

The former President said he was disappointed that flags did not fly at half-mast in African countries "for a man who had bridged the gap between South America and Africa."

President Rawlings said Hugo Chavez defended the rights of Africans and developing countries by promoting policies in the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) that supported development in less endowed nations.

At a Caracas Summit of OPEC in 2000, President Chavez challenged members of OPEC to tackle foreign debts, terms of trade and other issues for developing nations in its dialogue with rich countries.

Chavez was the first Latin American leader to declare himself of African descent. In 2005 he reaffirmed his commitment to Africa when he said: “And one of the greatest motherlands of all is no doubt, Africa. We love Africa. And every day we are much more aware of the roots we have in Africa... Racism is very characteristic of imperialism.

"Racism is very characteristic of capitalism.”

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