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Late Venezuelan president Chavez remembered worldwide
Prime Minister Stephen Harper hopes for ‘a better, brighter future’ for Venezuelans
The Associated Press Posted: Mar 6, 2013 5:50 AM ET Last Updated: Mar 6, 2013 5:45 AM ET Read 0 comments0
Supporters of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, who died Tuesday after a battle with an undisclosed type of cancer, react to the announcement of his death. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)

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Some marked Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s death with tears; others with cheers. There was deep mourning in Latin America, condolences from Europe and Asia, and from Iran’s president, predictions of great works in the afterlife.

‘Chavez is more alive than ever.’
—Bolivian President Evo Morales
U.S. President Barack Obama, meanwhile, focused on “a new chapter” for Venezuela, following 14 years in which Chavez cast himself as bulwark against American domination.

Chavez, who died Tuesday, was seen as a hero by some for his socialist programs, his anti-U.S. rhetoric and gifts of cut-rate oil. Others considered him a bully who repressed his opponents.

Condolences come from Chavez’s allies
A teary-eyed Bolivian President Evo Morales, one of Chavez’s closest allies and most loyal disciples, declared that “Chavez is more alive than ever.”

“Chavez will continue to be an inspiration for all peoples who fight for their liberation,” Morales said Tuesday in a televised speech. “Chavez will always be present in all the regions of the world and all social sectors. Hugo Chavez will always be with us, accompanying us.”

Bolivia’s President Evo Morales said “Chavez is more alive than ever,” following an announcement of the Venezuelan president’s death on Tuesday. (David Mercado/Reuters)
Chinese President Hu Jintao, who steps down this month, and his replacement, Xi Jinping, sent condolence letters to Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, the interim president ahead of new elections.

“President Chavez was a great leader of Venezuela and a good friend to the Chinese people,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a daily media briefing. “He made significant contributions to the friendly co-operative relationship between China and Venezuela.”

In its quest to secure resources for its fast-growing economy over the past decade, China has forged a useful friendship with Chavez centred on oil. Tens of billions of dollars in Chinese loans, repayable in oil, helped fund social programs and consumer goods giveaways that made Chavez popular. His anti-American policies and posturing was also looked upon positively by some in Beijing, though Chinese leaders were careful not to show public support.

In Cuba, President Raul Castro’s government declared two days of national mourning and ordered the flag to fly at half-staff.

“It is with deep and excruciating sorrow that our people and the revolutionary government have learned of President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias’ decease,” it said in a statement read on the nightly state TV newscast. “The Cuban people view him as one of their most outstanding sons.”

Some islanders worried that the loss of the country’s No. 1 ally, who has sent billions of dollars of oil to Cuba at preferential terms, could have a negative ripple effect there.

“It’s a very tough blow. … Now I wonder, what is to become of us?” said Maite Sierra, a 72-year-old Havana resident.

“It’s troubling what could come now, first for Venezuela but also for Cuba,” said Sergio Duran, a Havana resident. “Everything will depend on what happens in Venezuela, but in any case it will never be the same as with Chavez, even if Chavez’s party wins” in upcoming elections.

A wistful Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador and another of Chavez’s closest allies, predicted Chavez would have a lasting influence. “We have lost a revolutionary, but millions of us remain inspired.”

American-Venezuelans hope for change
In the United States, where relations with Venezuela were strained under Chavez, President Barack Obama issued a statement reaffirming Washington’s support for the “Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government.”

“As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights,” the statement read.

Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter released a statement saying Chavez “will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments.”

“We came to know a man who expressed a vision to bring profound changes to his country to benefit especially those people who had felt neglected and marginalized,” Carter wrote. “Although we have not agreed with all of the methods followed by his government, we have never doubted Hugo Chavez’s commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.”

Republican U.S. Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida called Chavez’s death “an opportunity for democracy in Venezuela.”

Some of the estimated 189,219 Venezuelan immigrants living in the United States — about half of them in Florida — turned out cheering and waving their country’s flag and expressed hope Tuesday that change would come to their homeland.

“We are not celebrating death,” Ana San Jorge, 37, said amid a jubilant crowd in the Miami suburb of Doral. “We are celebrating the opening of a new door, of hope and change.”

Wearing caps and T-shirts in the Venezuelan colours of yellow, blue and red, many expressed cautious optimism and concern.

“Although we might all be united here celebrating today, we don’t know what the future holds,” said Francisco Gamez, 18, at El Arepazo, a popular Venezuelan restaurant in Doral.

U.S. adversaries praise Chavez
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, like Chavez a frequent U.S. adversary, announced a day of mourning and compared Chavez to a saint, saying he will “return on resurrection day.”

Supporters of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez react to the announcement of his death Tuesday outside the hospital where he was being treated, in Caracas, Venezuela. (Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters)
Ahmadinejad said he has “no doubt Chavez will return to Earth together with Jesus and the perfect” Imam Mahdi, the most revered figure of Shia’s Muslims, and help the two “establish peace, justice and kindness” in the world. He said he believes something “suspicious” caused the cancer that killed Chavez.

In Asia, people felt a sense of loss in countries including Vietnam. “Chavez had a very strong character,” civil servant Nguyen Van Ngoc said in Hanoi. “The United States tried to exert influence in Latin America, but it couldn’t do anything to countries like Venezuela and Cuba.”

China’s Internet, its freest court of public opinion, crackled with praise for Chavez for standing up to the U.S. and for his socialist policies.

“Chavez and the ’21st century socialism’ he advocated was a big bright spot after drastic changes in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe sunk the world socialist movement in a low ebb, and he was known as an ‘anti-American standard-bearer,” Zhu Jidong of the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ World Socialism Research Center wrote on his feed on Sina Corporation’s Twitter-like microblog service. “Mourn this great fighter.”

Canada looks to the future
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered condolences to Venezuela’s people and said he hopes Chavez’s death brings hope of a better future.

“At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights,” Harper said in a statement.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien remembered him fondly on CBC-TV’s Power and Politics.

“He was a very colourful politician who had very different policies than many of us, but I had the privilege to meet him many times,” Chrétien said.

“He did his best, even if we did not agree many times on the issues.”

With files from CBC News
© The Associated Press, 2013


  • LUNDUN says:

    rip mr. chavez, i liked mr. chavez.

    as far as i have read, he was an ok leader in my opinion. he made some difference in the lives of the poor ppl in his country and i think he was an outcast to america and other first world countries because he was outspoken and couldn’t be bullied.

    plus he was friends with cuba, and capitalists could not thrive in his country.

  • Cc says:

    America media brand him as dictater smfh.

  • milikeit says:

    All options are on the table.

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