Paying Homage to Comandante Chávez (Report and Photo Essay)

(Arturo Rosales writes from 23 de Enero, western Caracas. Axis of Logic,
Saturday, Jun 15, 2013


After the Comandante’s untimely and early death on March 5th at 0425pm in the Military Hospital in Caracas, he was laid to rest in the 4th February Mountain Barracks (Cuartel 4F) in the 23rd January district* in western Caracas.

The Cuartel 4F is the main headquarters of the Bolivarian Militia and now it has been converted into a mausoleum and museum in memory of Higo Chávez – second Liberator of Latin America following in the footsteps of his guide and inspiration, Simón Bolívar.

During the military rebellion led by then Lieutenant Colonel Chávez on February 4th 1992, the Mountain Barracks were his headquarters and it was from here that Chávez made his famous “por ahora” (for now) speech on live TV which shook the foundations of the decadent and corrupt political establishment of bourgeois democracy and were the initial spark of the Bolivarian Revolution.

It is as if Chávez has turned full circle and is now back where he effectively inspired and started the Revolution.

Reaching the Mountain Barracks

It is very easy to reach the Mountain Barracks by public transport. You come out of the metro network at Silencio station and just round the corner to the right there is a free of charge Metro Bus that leaves you a short walk from the Barracks.

The Barracks are open every day from 0900am to 0400pm so that the public can pay homage to President Chávez.

Besides being able to pay one’s respects to the Comandante there are some fantastic photos of his life from childhood in his hometown of Sabaneta in Barinas state; his career in the military and his time as President and as an active baseball pitcher.

The Mountain Barracks are run and guarded by the Bolivarian Militia and part of the Presidential Guard of Honor. If you go late you can see the firing of the 1913 cannon at 0425pm each afternoon to commemorate the last moments of Chávez’s earthly existence and to remind Caracas, Venezuela and the world that the Bolivarian Revolution is here to stay!

The visit is very moving with many people in tears after paying homage at the sarcophagus and viewing the photos in the museum and the chapel set up for close family members to pray.

For me, my family and friends who went up to the Mountain Barracks yesterday, June 9th, Chávez is very much present and it is still hard to believe that he is no longer with us – physically at least.

But We are all Chávez! And this is why he will be present in Venezuela for generations to come just as Simón Bolívar is still with us some 182 years after his early and untimely death at the age of 47.

The following photo essay are of our recent visit to the Cuartel 4F overlooking Caracas. All photos are from Axis of Logic and may be republished with proper credit..

“¡Chávez vive, la lucha sigue!”

* It was in the 23rd of January District of Caracas that the people rose up and led the rebellion to overthrow of Dictator Marcos Pérez Jiménez on January 3, 1958.



On the way to Cuartel de la Montaña (Mountain Barracks)
in the new metrobus at Silencio Station.



The origin of the Mountain Barracks as an historical monument and museum.



A member of the Bolivarian Militia describes the site to visitors.



The Barracks with flags and 4F signifying the military rebellion
led by then Lieutenant Colonel Chávez on February 4th 1992,



The cannon used to salute the revolution each day at 0425 p.m.



Explanation by the militia of the cannon and its history.



Militia waiting orders for the firing of the cannon.



A mural painted by people in the social movements of 23rd of January.



Forest of the flags of all member nations of CELAC, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States. CELAC was created on December 3, 2011 for the deepening of Latin American integration and as an alternative to the Organization of American States which was organized by Washington. CELAC consists of 33 member states representing about 600 million people. President Chávez was largely responsible for its formation.



Changing of the guard as they march through the flags.



People waiting in line to enter the barracks and pay homage to President Chávez.


The words that launched the Bolivarian Revolution on February 4, 1992.



A view of the final resting place of El Commandante, guarded by his troops.



Changing of the Guard at the Sarcophagus



Visitors paying homage to President Chávez.



The Eternal Flame burning with the spirit of Chávez



An informal shrine set up by people at the 23rd of January barrio where people go to leave flowers and pray. They’ve titled the shrine, Santo Hugo Chávez del 23.



Inside the shrine people place flowers and light candles in memory of their fallen leader.



A nearby mural painted by the people, “We are all Chávez!”



Many private homes near the barracks continue to honor Chávez.



A view of Caracas from the barracks at the 23rd of January.



A United Latin America, the dream of Bolivar and Chávez.



Photo of a young, smiling Lieutenant Colonel Chávez,
leader of the Bolivarian Revolution



A montage of Chávez with other leaders is among the many photos depicting the history of the revolution inside the museum.



You too are Chávez!

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