World News

Venezuelans Mourn Chavez

The coffin of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez is driven through the streets of Caracas after leaving the military hospital where he died of cancer in Caracas, March 6, 2013.
The coffin of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez is driven through the streets of Caracas after leaving the military hospital where he died of cancer in Caracas, March 6, 2013.
VOA News
Crowds of grieving Venezuelans sobbed and threw flowers as his coffin made its way through the streets of Caracas Wednesday. A somber Vice President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's hand-picked successor, walked next to the hearse.

Chavez died Tuesday of cancer. He was 58-years-old.

Several close Chavez allies, including the presidents of Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay, already are in Venezuela for Friday's funeral.

The United Nations Security Council held a moment of silence Wednesday for Chavez. Cuba, home of Chavez's mentor Fidel Castro, is observing two days of official mourning. Chinese and Iranian leaders also expressed their sorrow.

  • Supporters of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez react as they view his coffin during a wake at the military academy in Caracas, March 7, 2013.
  • Supporters of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez protest over others cutting the line as they wait to view his body in state at the Military Academy in Caracas, March 7, 2013.
  • Supporters of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez line up to view his body in state at the Military Academy in Caracas, March 7, 2013.
  • Chavez supporters react after his death was announced, Caracas, Venezuela, March 5, 2013.
  • A supporter of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez cries as she holds a sign that reads in Spanish "I am Chavez," in Bolivar square, Caracas, Venezuela, March 5, 2013.
  • A woman places a candle in front of an image of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez outside Venezuela's embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, March 5, 2013.
  • A mourning ribbon with the colors of the Mexican flag sits next to an image of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez in front of Venezuela's embassy in Mexico City, March 5, 2013.
  • Argentine supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez demonstrate in front of Venezuela's embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 5, 2013.
  • Argentine supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez pose for pictures wearing T-shirts with images of Chavez, left, and Argentina's late President Nestor Kirchner, right, in Buenos Aires, Argentina, March 5, 2013.
  • A man holds up an image of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez during a demonstration in Managua, Nicaragua, March 5, 2013.
  • Candles, placed by mourner demonstrators, burn in front of an image of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez outside Venezuela's embassy in Quito, Ecuador, March 5, 2013.

Nicolas Maduro

  • Venezuelan vice president, Hugo Chavez's chosen successor
  • Former foreign minister
  • Was a member of assembly that drafted a new constitution after Chavez's 1998 election
  • Campaigned for Mr. Chavez's release from prison in the 1990s
  • 50 years old, former bus driver
The U.S. Embassy in Caracas is closed until after the funeral. The U.S. delegation to the funeral has not yet been announced. President Barack Obama said he reaffirms his support for the Venezuelan people and is committed to polices promoting democracy and human rights.

Chavez, a staunch socialist, was elected president in 1998. He earned the enmity of the United States and others for such policies as nationalizing major companies and courting world leaders such as Fidel Castro, Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Libya's Moammar Gadhafi.

The country's opposition accused him of being a dictator. But millions of poor Venezuelans revered him for using the country's vast oil wealth to give them access to low-cost food, free medical care and other social programs. However, experts say Chavez failed to control crime or use oil wealth to enrich the overall economy.

What Happens Next in Venezuela?

  • Venezuela marks seven days of mourning
  • Chavez lies in state at a military academy in Caracas
  • His funeral has been scheduled for Friday
  • Vice President Nicolas Maduro leads the country until elections take place
  • Elections are expected within a month
Nicolas Maduro, Venezuelan VP:

"We now have to be united more than ever with major discipline and collaboration," he said. "We are going to grow. We are going to be dignified, inheritors and children of a great man. He was and will always be Comandante Hugo Chavez. Glory and honor Comandante Hugo Chavez. Long live Chavez!''

Latin America analyst Sean Burges, Australian Center for Latin American Studies:

"It’s definitely going to be the economy. Nobody knows what’s going on with the oil company and how much it’s producing," he said. "There are balance payments problems. There are production problems. There are supply problems. And these are all things that even if Chavez had stayed in power, he was going to have to deal with in the next four years. So it’s going to be a really titanic exercise in economic management and rationalization."
"Irrespective of what happens, I think some of the social policies and the political, dynamic changes Chavez brought in, those are going to be around forever."

Watch related story on world reaction by Brian Padden:

World Reacts to Death of Venezuelan Presidenti
March 06, 2013 8:21 PM
Venezuela is mourning its President, Hugo Chavez, who died yesterday Tuesday after a struggle with cancer. World leaders are sending condolences. And as VOA’s Brian Padden reports both supporters and critics are voicing concern about what the loss of the populist and autocratic leader will mean to this oil-rich South American country and the world.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: juguyen from: usa
March 07, 2013 2:49 PM
Hugo Chavez may have been well intentioned, but he did not teach his people to fish and intead he give them fish. The poor fellow did know how, he just push things, no consultations with anyone. Venezuela will go back to the old days of 80% poverty.

by: Alí Acosta from: Venezuela
March 07, 2013 1:58 PM
All the Venezuelan people are with Hugo Chavez and with his peaceful revolution. Vivia Hugo Chavez por siempre.

by: Juli Efendi from: Pekanbaru-Indonesia
March 07, 2013 4:28 AM
There are so many people talking about Hugo Chavez today. He died of cancer in Caracas, March 6, 2013. So, I hope people in Venezuela can be better after this momment.

by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
March 06, 2013 7:23 PM
RIP. My heart goes out to all the Venezuelans.

by: NVO from: USA
March 06, 2013 6:10 PM
Why mourn a TYRANT? Good riddance to you, and good riddance to your successor and good riddance to autocracy. WAKE UP PEOPLE, and STOP THE FAKE TEARS!!!!
In Response

by: Plain Mirror Intl from: Plain Planet- Africa
March 08, 2013 7:51 AM
... when the rightous is on the throne, the people rejoice declares the christain holy bible. Ironically when this happens today the US would be the first to condemn that leader with so called tyrant or dictator because you can't be for your people and also be for the emperialist and foreign bullying policies US. You must chose whom to serve; your people or the wicked and emperialist US. What does the Us thinks it is... ? Live long Hugo Chavez! Live long Venezuela! May God comfort you people at this point of great loss. Hugo Chavez wouldn't have been all round good, but better please the teaming poor than promote the wicked and greed rich like the US. My people first, emperialists last is the hallmark of any good leader. Long live Hugo Chavez! Long live Venezuela!
In Response

by: Marv from: USA
March 07, 2013 12:50 PM
I agree with Igor! These people are so blind and only listen to the "one sided media" here. Instead of doing their own research and finding the truth about this great leader, people only listen to what the tv says about him.

It’s a shame so many people will never have an open mind enough to see the great things Hugo Chavez did for his country and most importantly, HIS PEOPLE! He was brave enough to stand up for the poor people in Venezuela and even created a middle class in a country that before he became president was 80% poverty. In 2012, Venezuela’s economy increased 5.6% in a year where most countries, like the US, suffered dramatic job losses and a decrease in economic growth. Hugo Chavez a dictator? No way! Hugo Chavez a HERO and admired leader? Definitely!
In Response

by: Paris Tun from: Myanmar
March 07, 2013 9:33 AM
Let's just agree that he is a sick tyrant for some people and a hero for people, like Igor from Russia( I wonder how Igor is so convinced that Chavez is a good ruler). The question is " Did Chavez's policies cut Venezuela people from the rest of the world and make people isolated, deprived of their basis rights and opportunities? If Chavez is a sick tyrant, may God bury his disturbing face forever. Tyrants should be condemned and removed cos' their sick desire to control is not simply acceptable. People have rights to speak and act freely, as long as it is decent.
In Response

by: senyi from: china
March 07, 2013 2:51 AM
believe me ,dictators always get mourning from their people,no matter what they do to their people,good or not, they are part of their people's life,the people at least feel lost of something when they decease, all the unthinking and fooled will shed their tears instead of celebrating
In Response

by: Igor from: Russia
March 06, 2013 10:51 PM
Shut up your mouth and stop calling that great man a "tyrant". How uneducated and ignorant you are to insult the feelings of millions of Venezuelans and others! He was a great and brave man who did great things that many of your western presidents failed to do to their own people. He loved his country and most Venezuelans love him except some hypocrites.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs