Venezuela’s President Hugo Chávez has died after a two-year battle with cancer, ending 14 years of rule that saw him win as much hatred as support.
Chávez’s rule won him passionate support among the poor but hatred from business leaders and wealthy Venezuelans.
The flamboyant 58-year-old had undergone four operations in Cuba for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region in mid-2011.
He vanished from public view after December 11 surgery that resulted in complications and respiratory infections.
“It’s a moment of deep pain,” said Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, choking up during a national address. “Commander, thank you so much, on behalf of these people whom you protected.”
Military chiefs pledged loyalty to Maduro, who will be caretaker leader until elections are called within 30 days.
Weeping Chávez supporters poured onto the streets, chanting “Chávez lives! The revolution continues!” and “We are Chávez!” “Don’t let anyone try to convince you Chávez has gone … He will always be with us,” said congress head Diosdado Cabello.
The president’s death was announced by Maduro, flanked by cabinet ministers, less than an hour after he passed away.
State TV broadcast Chávez’s emotional last speech from December, shops in Caracas locked up for fear of looting, and condolences came from around the world, including messages from filmmaker Oliver Stone and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
Chavez easily won a new six-year term at an election in October and his death is devastating for millions of supporters who adored his charismatic style, anti-U.S. rhetoric and oil-financed policies that brought subsidized food and free health clinics to long-neglected slums.
Detractors, however, saw his one-man style, gleeful nationalizations and often harsh treatment of opponents as traits of an egotistical dictator whose misplaced statist economics wasted a historic bonanza of oil revenues.
Chavez’s corpse will lie in state at a Caracas military academy until a formal funeral ceremony on Friday, and seven days of mourning will be observed, officials said.
“The funeral of Chavez is going to rival Eva Peron’s in Argentina,” said Daniel Hellinger, a Venezuela expert in the United States, referring to the beloved former first lady of Argentina who died at the height of her popularity in 1952.
he thought he was God at one point….
You are a fool, This man was prepared to die for the Poor. R.I.P Commandante
kamwamba,it sounds like a tonga name,what’s wrong with tongas?
Please have respect for the dead , at least he has the love and respect of his people which you will never achive in your life as an ordinary individual .
May GOD rest the soul of this great leader
This man and his socialist values were leading Venezuela into a ditch. What most people dont realize is that Hugo was a modern dictator who was hiding behind elections victories after inflicting fear in his own people if they decided to vote the other way. If Hugo was really a great leader, he should have given up the presidency after two terms. May his soul rest in peace
You are jealous of Chavez because you couldn’t compare with your hero, man calling himself a King Cobra?
@Cham 2013 Your name sounds Bemba. What’s wrong with Bembas kanshi? You are the epitome of foolishness.
@chamz 2013 try to be objectively,and maybe ask why he posted that comment you never know maybe he knows more than you because he is a Venezuela national. What is happening in Zambia please hatred towards each other because of a unknown tribe roots we all have,I have them all kaonde,bemba,Tonga,villa etc. WHICH ZAMBIAN CAN STAND IN A GLASS HOUSE AND SAY AM 100% TONGA,BEMBA ETC.LET US FACE THE NATION PROBLEMS AS ZAMBIANS NOT AS TRIBES NO ONE IS WINNING HERE APART FROM GOVERNMENT MEMBERS. PEACE
A champion of the poor and downtrodden…from Bolivia to Cuba to USA itself the poor enjoyed Venezuelan largesse from oil wealth. R.I.P Chavez the revolutionary.
Everything you wrote was perfect, except “revolutionary”.
I hope you be around to write same about Sata, he is watching copper looted while people are queing for food. Sorry Zambians you voted for man you thought might fight for poor…
M.H.S.R.I.P >now america to exploit the venezuelan resources-oil
Thats all there are interested in, now there are being meek, wait till they start, i home the venezuelan people will hail El Commandante and protect their country and it’s resources whatever it takes, scavenging dogs are looming!
They not there.
sad news M.H.S.R.I.P. read the message twice the president was loved by all people in that country. “Weeping Chávez supporters poured onto the streets, chanting “Chávez lives! The revolution continues!” and “We are Chávez!” “Don’t let anyone try to convince you Chávez has gone … He will always be with us,”
millions of supporters who adored his charismatic style, anti-U.S. rhetoric and oil-financed policies that brought subsidized food and free health clinics to long-neglected slums will miss him. Good people go faster why lord. I, too send apologize to my parents for sending money meant for farm inputs late, because the salary come late too. I hope to improve next time but for now keep on eating cassava meal.. hahahaha
This is indeed sad.I loved this man.He was amongest the few world leaders who were able to stand up against American influence.Mhsrip.
Whats american influence and how evil is it?
RIP Comrade. Even us the poor here in Zambia loved you.
Yes the poor loved someone from afar, but do you love your own Sata, what is fighting for you? Compare food shortage in Zambia, education, hygiene & sanitation is even getting worse in Zambia. I wish Hugo Chavez was president of Zambia for even 6 months.
BUT THESE GUY TRIED TO DISGUISE THE SITUATION AS IF ALL WAS WELL. ANY WAY RIP GREAT MAN.
Oh No he didnt…… infact if you have the gift of reading things, you could tell from the pictures that the vp splashed in the media, that he didnt have enough time, i believe 100% that the docters in Cuba give him less than three weeks, thats why he left to go and die in his Mother land, most importantly see it for the last time, i was really shocked when they put up those fotos, it wasnt him who told them, they still were hoping for the best but it wasnt so. So please dont rush to conclusion, anyhow,i feit sad when i got the news because i know only good people die first, fare wel Chavez you were a hero to the people and you respected them. I hate leaders and pipo in general who do things to please someone they thing they can get something from, en commandante wasnt!
Gave him less than three weeks.
Iye mwe, umu chana wane! Commandante Chavez rest in peace.
Too bad for Hugo, May His soul Rest in Peace.
I have always admired the charismatic leadership of Chavez! He managed to give his people (the poor) most of the basic needs the needed such as housing, healthcare and education which unfortunately most of the African Leaders have failed to fulfil despite living in ubundunt natural resources. In deed, he was a man for the poor and for this May God forgive him and grant him a permanent place in the most high! May God also comfort the people of Venezuela during this period of mourning and also find them another Chavez! As who Zambians, we should never forget that we too lost the man who had started to change economic landscape of our country – Levy Mwanawasa.
Rest in Peace gallant man!
R.I.P comrade. adios amigo..
Sata, you definately next. cant wait to celebrate your………..passing on
Not b4 you depart dog!
Lempi your mother is next I can see her being bitten by a black mamba
@ LEMPI > u are being haunted by your past . Imagine your remarks being used against you or your D***.i forgive u!
I wish there was a system of Presidential exchange, Zambia could have borrowed Chavez for 6 months and Sata goes to run Congo-Brazzaville.
Its sad indeed may his soul rest in eternal peace (MHSRIEP).
The title is wrong. How can a country mourn and then the president dies. Ichisungu. It should be “Hugo Chavez Dies and Venezuela Mourns”
Wish Sata goes too. Our president is dividing us on tribal lines. Right now there’s a growing resentment for Bembas by other tribes because of how Sata is favouring them above other tribes. If this evil goes unchecked, in future, when a non Bemba becomes president, many good and innoncent Bembas might suffer because of one bad man.
@ Njenje imagine if it was your father people were talking about like the way you are doing, naked you came naked you will go buddy. We will all go and especially iwe wine you will go faster than sata
The multi-nationals will now rush in and rape that country no more free education as all the monies will now be wired abroad.
The government should send a high powered delegation of 3 people for Hugo’s funeral. And negotiate for oil from the new leaders.
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