Paying rich tributes to the late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, former Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee said here on Saturday that the people of West Bengal will continue to draw inspiration from Venezuela and other Latin American countries for strengthening their own struggle.

“The people of Venezuela will not retreat from the path shown by Hugo Chavez,” said Mr. Bhattacharjee at an event organised to pay tribute to Mr Chavez who died on March 5 at the age of 58.

Stating that Mr Chavez had shown the world that neo-liberalism is not the only way to progress, he said the leader had revolutionised development in Latin America. Commenting on how the Venezuelan leader made significant achievements in various areas such as education, health care and housing, Mr. Bhattacharjee said he initiated reforms in land reforms and used the vast resources of natural oil of the country for its development.

Mr. Chavez did not imitate the model of growth of China or Russia but evolved the country’s own development model, he said.

Venezuelan Ambassador to India Milena Santana Ramirez said the process of political and social change initiated by Mr Chavez will continue to flourish in the times to come.