“When [Venezuelan strongman] Hugo Chavez died I cried. He was like a brother to me”, said Hollywood actor Danny Glover recently. Glover visited Venezuela more than once when Chavez was alive, transported in the state-owned oil company airplanes. He went to help Chavez to promote his policy of racial consciousness, one that helped the Venezuelan autocrat to consolidate power by telling the Venezuelan colored population that the rich whites had stolen the money that belonged to them.
As spokesman for Washington DC – based TransAfrica Forum, Glover traveled to Venezuela, in company of Harry Belafonte, to give talks encouraging black Venezuelans to call themselves afro-venezuelans and increase their level of racial consciousness. With this purpose he traveled to speak to the members of some isolated pockets of Venezuelan negritude, accompanied by the only black member of the Hugo Chavez top government team, Aristobulo Isturiz. He found small audiences largely uncomprehending of his message since Venezuela has never had a racial problem, the population being mostly mestizo, a blend of White, Black and Indian.
Glover was not very succesful at creating a racial poblem in a country that did not have one but he was succesful in getting $18 million from Chavez to make a film about Haitian leader Touissant L’Overture, a man that, he said, was in the same heroic mold of Hugo Chavez. The film would serve, by association, to enhance the figure of Chavez himself. This is a recent report on the movie: “In 2006, Glover assembled a cast including Wesley Snipes, Angela Bassett, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Mos Def, and planned to shoot his film in South Africa and Venezuela, thanks to $18m (£11m) from one of Glover's heroes, Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. Six years on, filming has not started”. The money, which belongs to Venezuelans, is hopefully intact in a bank, earning interest but one never knows.
It’s logical that a man should cry when someone who has given him $18 million dies.