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.

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