Hugo Chávez’s regime was a mixed bag, but though the Bolivarian bureaucracy has its issues, the advances he made have seen him canonized among poor and working class Venezuelans. He’s responsible for massive developments in infrastructure like rural schools, free university and excellent, free hospitals. He democratized natural resources and largely dismantled the oligarchy that previously ran the country—these are the sorts of accomplishments that predictably produced a palpable cult of personality around Chávez as a leader.
Still, it’s a little odd to see his handwriting commemorated in an “anti-imperialist” font. A group called Creative Trench actually reproduced his penmanship from his prison letters, and are giving it away for free (naturally), on their website.
For the full effect, try picturing the scrawl over this letter to his daughter, written from prison in February of 1992 after the failed coup. By the way, “Maisantera” is the name of their home, “the boy” is probably Chávez’s son, and the cuatro is a Venezuelan instrument.
My love: Hello, my heart!
I want you to know that day and night I carry you in my heart and in my mind.
I’m so happy that you are well. As always, I am proud to have a daughter like you, pretty, intelligent and brave.
Maria, I’m in good physical health and above all have a tranquil conscience. I did what I had to do, with the hope that things would change, with the Bolivarian hope that there will be a better world for you in the future, a world where there is not so much injustice and such corruption, were children have food, shelter, medicine, toys, schools. All of Venezuela’s children.
You are already a young lady so I’m sure you understand me.
The only thing, my baby girl, is that now I will not be very close to you [...] as before. But my heart and my spirit are always there in the “Maisantera” and wherever they [the family] go.
Remember to apply yourself to your studies and to your reading, as well as to art and music. It will cultivate a noble and libertarian spirit that you will carry within.
Likewise with sport, to have “a healthy mind in a healthy body”. Keep going to the pool (be very careful).
I entrust the boy to you. Encourage him to learn to play the cuatro, to write stories and to draw, and to keep going to swimming and to baseball. But please take care of him.
I must go now, my Maria, with the hope of seeing you soon and with the greatest love from,
ChávezPro (yes, that’s what it’s actually called) isn’t completely unprecedented. In Venezuela, Chávez’s handwriting is on all kinds of swag, from buildings to clothing. Still, the best use of ChávezPro has to be for covert trolling, no? I know exactly what font I’m using for my Republican relatives’ birthday cards, anyway.
Below, Oliver Stone’s Hugo Chávez documentary South of the Border:
Via Fast Company