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Trini wake for Chavez

By SASHA HARRINANAN Friday, March 8 2013

click on pic to zoom in
FOR CHAVEZ: Little Gatre Kambon, wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, holds his candle as he and others held a wake last night at the Venezuelan Embassy in ...
FOR CHAVEZ: Little Gatre Kambon, wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt, holds his candle as he and others held a wake last night at the Venezuelan Embassy in ...

A CANDLELIT wake was held yesterday at the Venezuelan Embassy on Victoria Avenue, Port-of-Spain in honour of that country’s late president, Hugo Chavez, who died three days ago.

Mere hours before his funeral this morning, embassy staff, Venezuelan citizens, officials from various local unions and members of the Trinidad and Tobago Bolivarian Solidarity Movement (TTBSM), the latter being the one which organised a Trini-style wake, gathered in the corridor outside the embassy to celebrate Chavez’s life.

At 7.30 pm, surrounded by men and women of varying ages holding candles in Styrofoam cups, musician Sheldon Blackman began singing a haunting melody about the loss of a hero.

Strumming his guitar, Blackman captivated the group’s attention as he sang the following lyrics:

“Another hero is gone/We give thanks for the day he was born/The life of a righteous person will always be remembered/The life of a righteous person will always be treasured.”

In the quiet of the evening, with the candles flickering in the gentle breeze that was blowing during his performance, Blackman’s unique voice gave expression to the sentiments of many present at yesterday’s wake.

“We love you/We will miss you,” he sang before ending his first song with the words “Viva Chavez.”

Prior to Blackman’s performance, there was a poetry reading by TTBSM chairman Burton Sankeralli, speeches by local union officials and members of the Venezuelan community, as well as an Orisha prayer. Cuba’s Ambassador to TT Humberto Rivero Rosari was also on hand to mark the solemn occasion.

Several people spoke about how “Commandante Chavez” had inspired a whole new generation of socialists across Latin America and the Caribbean. They urged those present to embody the spirit of what they said was the late president’s mission in life — to improve the lives of poor people and to provide equality for all, most ending their Nearly everyone ended their contribution to the evening’s activities, which included pan music and parang, with the words “Viva Chavez, Viva Venezuela, Viva Trinidad and Tobago.”

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