Under President Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan relations with eastern European country Belarus flourished, as the countries worked together in developing oil and gas fields in Venezuela. Among those questionable characters on his list of close confidantes, Chavez maintained a close relationship with President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the leader of one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
And after a park in the capitol Minsk was named after Chavez last week, the Belarusian Music Theater announced that a musical named “In Memory of Hugo Chavez” is scheduled to premiere this summer in the city. The production will later make a stop in Venezuelan capitol Caracas.
The production will be in Spanish (a first for Belarus), and will be a collaboration with Venezuelan artists. Gerardo Estrada, the first secretary of the Venezuelan Embassy in Belarus, will be the composer. Estrada is also known as a seasoned musician.
During his tenure as president, Chavez was known for breaking into song during his marathon speeches, and was often seen strumming a guitar on stage.
Chavez performs folk song "El Corrio de Maisanta" during a 2006 appearance
At the age of 58, Chavez died of cancer last March after serving 14 years as the country’s president.
Critics of Chavez say that he left behind a bitterly divided country, a widening class divide, and a murder rate that by some estimates has quadrupled in the last fifteen years.
Yet many still look to Chavez as a folk hero whose policies propped up the poor and helpless, who past administrations had all but forgotten. Shortly after his death, Chavez emerged as a cult figure, and some are even speculating that he should become a saint.
But considering the rampant violence, crime and inflation in the country, Chavistas still need something to sing about.
“In Memory of Hugo Chavez” might be their answer.
Daniel Rivero is a producer/reporter for Fusion who focuses on police and justice issues. He also skateboards, does a bunch of arts related things on his off time, and likes Cuban coffee.