Venezuela is among six countries which have recognized the independence of one or both territories from Georgia. And in the Caucasus, the deed of "a good friend" is not easily forgotten.
At a March 8 funeral rally in the South Ossetian capital Tskinvali, officials and public figures took turns to remember the Chavez they knew, the Chavez they loved, and queued to sign a memorial book to be sent to Caracas.
The mourners said they were forever thankful to the Bolivarian revolutionary for standing up to the West and recognizing South Ossetia’s still largely unrecognized independence from Georgia. “Since then, the people and the president of Venezuela have become close friends to us,” elaborated the territory's de-facto president, Leonid Tibilov.
For a musical memorial, South Ossetia’s singing talent Alla Byazrova, of course, performed her serenade to the late Venezuelan leader. “Hugo Chavez, Hugo Chavez, my best friend, my faraway friend!” she sang to a catchy, syncopated beat.
Meanwhile, on the Black Sea, in South Ossetia’s separatist cousin Abkhazia, the breakaway authorities, and the breakaway domino federation, also remembered the man who gave them the gift of recognition. And thereby paid a tribute to the country whose native son, International Domino Federation President Lucas Guittard, had promoted Abkhazia as the perfect spot for the 8th World Domino Championship in 2011.
But this is not all. Chavez’s "freedom-loving" spirit may soon be immortalized in the Caucasus' own towering peaks.
North Ossetia, South Ossetia's ethnic twin in Russia, is considering naming one of its mountains after the late Venezuelan president as a token of their appreciation for his friendship to Ossetians on either side of the Caucasus mountain range.
So, el Commandante's memory will live on … in Abkhazia, in every smack of a spotted domino tile, and, in North Ossetia, in the snow-capped face of a proud, Caucasus mountain.