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World Leaders Express Sorrow Over Chavez Death

  • VOA News

The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has inspired many tributes and expressions of hope for the Venezuelan people.

Some of the late president's closest allies -- Bolivian President Evo Morales, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica -- arrived in Venezuela Wednesday, several days ahead of the leftist leader's state funeral set for Friday.

After learning of Chavez's death, a tearful President Morales had said that the late president would continue to be an inspiration for people who fight for their liberation.

Meanwhile at the United Nations headquarters in New York, the U.N. Security Council held a moment of silence to honor Chavez's memory. Earlier, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon had offered his condolences to the Venezuelan people.

Related - Venezuelan President Chavez Dead at 58

Another close ally of the Chavez government, Cuba, is observing two days of mourning with flags flown at half-staff. A statement from the government said the Cuban people considered him one of their "most outstanding sons."

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also offered his condolences and said he may attend Friday's funeral. China called Chavez "a great leader and great friend of the Chinese people."

The U.S. Obama administration, often the target of Chavez's criticism, was cautious in its response, releasing a statement expressing support for the Venezuelan people and interest in "developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government."

In the largely Venezuelan community of Doral in the Florida city of Miami, many people who left Venezuela while Chavez was in power took to the streets to celebrate his passing. Some expressed hope that the problems they left behind -- crime, corruption, and a poor economy -- would finally begin to improve.

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