There is a proper time to say to others, ‘Rest in Peace’

posted in: Opinion | 0

With the March 5 death of Hugo Chávez who has been the President of Venezuela from 1999 until this week, it has become apparent that some in our culture should use the phrase “Rest in Peace” a little more tactfully.

Granted that there’s multiple  ways to look at Chávez’s career in politics, all with varying degrees of merit, the fact stands that Chávez was one of the most controversial figures of our time.

I understand the argument that Chávez may not have been a good man on the domestic front, but that he was a staunch anti-imperialist and therefore deserves respect for that. I for one, being a longtime and vocal critic of US foreign policy, can completely sympathize with the aims of stopping our foreign interventionism.

Nonetheless, I think we should be a little more careful with the way we throw around “Rest in Peace” when regarding individuals such as Chávez that are at best morally dubious. His reign in Venezuela marked a frightening time for many who had the misfortune to live in that time and place.

Rarely are leaders as demonized as Chávez as vile as as they seem. Yet we should try to avoid the near-canonization of these individuals that happens so often when public figures die, and instead try to be more sensitive to those who suffer under regimes such as theirs.


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