The Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Frías died yesterday after a long battle against cancer. Aged 58, he won his fourth term as president of the South American republic in October last year. Later, in December 2012, he returned to Cuba for his fourth round of surgery. President Chávez had been receiving treatment in Cuba for cancer since 2011.
Venezuela’s Chancellor Elías Jaua said he was sure Chávez departed at peace and that “Dying here was his last mission, leading the Venezuelan people,” quoted by local news source El Universal. Crowds have reportedly gathered, including outside the Miraflores Presidential Palace in Caracas to mourn the passing of the President.
Vice-President Nicolás Maduro will assume the presidency temporarily. As well as announcing the President’s death he later gave thanks for the messages of condolences received from around the world.
Hugo Chávez was a controversial figure throughout his time in politics. He took a left wing stance and led a socialist movement that used plenty of revolutionary rhetoric. Chávez forged close ties with Cuba, which included an oil for Cuban doctors program. He survived a coup in 2002 and although hugely popular with many Venezuelans, he was hated by a generally more affluent minority in the country.
There will be 21 gun salutes at 08:00 local time across Venezuela today. The country’s Defense Minister said that wherever there are batteries of artillery, they will be fired in honor of the late President, according to El Universal.
(photo source: Wikipedia Commons)