Chavez Passes Away, World Mourns A Great Leader
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died Tuesday at the age of 58, according to an announcement on state-run television by Vice President Nicolas Maduro.
Chavez, battling cancer for several months and receiving treatment in Cuba, won a fourth presidential term in October. He became the leader of a left-leaning movement across Latin America.
He even cut his country’s relations with the Zionist entity in response to its crime in Occupied Palestine and Lebanon.
In a message posted on Chavez’s official website on Monday, the government announced he faced “a new and severe respiratory infection” and that his breathing capacity had “deteriorated.” Chavez, who was being treated at the Hospital Militar Dr. Carlos Arvelo in Caracas, Venezuela, was receiving “high impact chemotherapy, and other complementary treatments.” He had returned to Caracas two weeks before.
Chavez’s death leaves an important power vacuum in the large South American nation, the fourth largest exporter of crude oil to the U.S.
“It’s a national tragedy,” Maduro said, according to Argentine daily Perfil, adding “we have to be more united than ever” as he asked Venezuelans to reject violence and hatred.
Soldiers brought the Venezuelan flag down to half-staff at the Caracas military hospital, where senior figures in Chavez’s 14-year-old administration gathered before the cameras of state television to break the news.
The popular leader had been in power since 1998, and had recently undergone four operations in Cuba for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region, according to Reuters.
“Long live Chavez!” the officials shouted at the end of his announcement.
Meanwhile, Latin America mourned the death of Chavez.
Allies across the region lined up to salute Chavez, with Cuba leading the plaudits to a man hailed as a “true son” to the communist nation’s retired 86-year-old revolutionary icon Fidel Castro.
Cuban officials declared three days of national mourning in honor of the country’s closest regional ally and main economic benefactor.
In a statement broadcast on state television, the Cuban government said Chavez had “stood by Fidel Castro like a true son” during his presidency.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff hailed Chavez as a “great Latin American.”
“We recognize a great leader, an irreparable loss and above all a friend of Brazil, a friend of the Brazilian people,” Rousseff said.
Bolivia’s President Evo Morales said he was “crushed” by his friend’s death and would soon travel to Venezuela. “We are in pain,” Morales added.
Ecuador’s leftist President Rafael Correa, another close ally, said Chavez’s death was an “irreparable loss” for Latin America, saying Venezuelans would proudly carry on his legacy.
In Argentina, Vice President Amado Boudou said on Twitter that “all of Latin America” was in mourning.
“One of the best has left us: you will always be with us, Comandante,” Boudou said. Argentina’s President Cristina Kirchner is to travel to Venezuela for Chavez’s memorial service.
Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos echoed Correa’s sentiments, saying Chavez’s death was “a great loss for Venezuela and the region, for Colombia and for me personally.”
Uruguay’s President Jose Mujica, a leftist and close friend of Chavez, issued a heartfelt tribute.
“You are always saddened by a death,” said the 77-year-old, who confirmed he will travel to Venezuela to pay his respects.
“But when you are talking about someone who has fought on the front line, and about someone who I remember I once called ‘the most generous leader I have met’, well the pain takes on a whole new dimension.”
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, called Chavez a leader who was “deeply committed to Latin America’s integration.”
It was a view shared by Honduras President Porfirio Lobo, who lamented the loss of a “leader who fought for the integration of Latin America.”
El Salvador President Mauricio Funes also offered condolences, expressing “deep regret at the loss of this great leader.”
For his part, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon paid tribute Chavez’s work on behalf of his country’s poor and his support of Colombia’s peace process.
“President Chavez spoke to the challenges and aspirations of the most vulnerable Venezuelans,” Ban said.
French President Francois Hollande, meanwhile, praised Chavez’s determination “to fight for justice,” saying he had “profoundly marked his country’s history.”
In London, British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was “saddened” by the death, saying Chavez had left a “lasting impression” on his people.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by moqawama.org