The Venezuelan leader who was adored by most and feared by some has died at the age of 58. Hugo Chavez had been fighting cancer and was being treated at a clinic in Cuba. The President was known as a champion of the poor citizens of Venezuela, who first attempted to overturn his country’s powerful elites in 1992. He was democratically elected in 1999.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro will assume the presidency in the interim and elections will be held in 30 days.
“We must unite now more than ever,” Maduro said. Thousands of “Chavistas” marched behind the hearse which held their beloved President. Chávez was a highly controversial figure both in his country and abroad. His leftist policies won him the support of the disadvantaged but infuriated opponents who denounced him as a dictator.
Maduro’s message to the people: “In the immense pain of this historic tragedy that has affected our fatherland, we call on all the compatriots to be vigilant for peace, love, respect and tranquility. We ask our people to channel this pain into peace.”