Friday, March 8, 2013

Fun Friday Facts #67: RIP Hugo Chavez

As you’re no doubt aware by now, Hugo Chavez died a couple days ago. Today is also International Women’s Day, which I didn’t even realize until about mid-afternoon, so I guess that means I’m bad at being a woman.

I open my own jars and everything.

I wanted to blog about Hugo Chavez today because, on the occasion of his death, Citgo HQ in Houston, Texas lowered its flag to half-staff in mourning. According to local news sources, Citgo, a Venezeulan-owned company, announced:

"President Hugo Chávez of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela leaves behind a legacy of support for the underprivileged and promotion of social justice that transcends geographical boundaries. We at CITGO Petroleum Corporation are deeply saddened by the news of his passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the people of Venezuela in this time of grief."

Of course, the Internet went apeshit, with commenters calling for the removal of Citgo HQ’s flagpoles, announcing lifelong boycotts that will no doubt be forgotten about by next week, and indignantly announcing, Half mast is a scared symbol for the deaths of soldiers and presidents unless ordered by the president himself. Most of the commenters labored under the illusion that it is illegal to fly the flag at half-staff unless ordered to do so by the President or governor of your state.

According to this pesky government website, “A local community, a company, a school district, or a federal agency can decide to have all of their flags at half-staff because of the death of an employee, a student, a mayor, or a local police officer,” it says. So, you see, they were well within their rights.

One guy boasts that he called up Citgo HQ and ordered “the woman on the phone” to raise the flag to back to full staff or he would “come down there and do it myself.” I’m sure they appreciated that, it takes a real strong man to yell at a woman.

Before he grew up, went to military school and became a powerful advocate for the underclasses, proto-Chavez played youth baseball with the Criollitos de Venezeula and dreamed of being a pro baseball player. He idolized Néstor Isaías "Látigo" Chávez, a Venezeulan pitcher who died at the age of 23 on 16 March 1969, in the worst airplane crash in Venezeulan history. Young Hugo was so distraught that he stayed home from school for two days.

Awwwwww.  ~Jose Cruz/ABr

Chavez continued to be known as an avid baseball player throughout his life. In fact, when he joined the military at the age of 17, he later said, it was so he would be able to play in the military baseball leagues.

When Hugo Chavez was twelve to thirteen years old, his peers teased him and called him “Tribilin,” Spanish for Goofy, because of his large feet.

D'awwwwwww. ~Victor Soares/ABr

Rumor has it that Hugo’s classmates at the Venezeula Academy of Military Sciences, where he enrolled in 1971, didn’t find him very hawt. He had two girlfriends who, according to Wikipedia, “were considered…unattractive,” and who “were more interested in two of Chavez’s best friends…than in Chavez himself.” When another, presumably more attractive girl snubbed the young Chavez, he left a present on her doorstep – the rotting head of a donkey.

Not so cute, Hugo.