Caracas (SaebPress) — The world lost One of the world’s best-known socialist leaders and a staunch critic of the United States, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has passed away at the age of 58 following a two-year fight against cancer and a severe respiratory infection.
The president of Venezuela died on Tuesday afternoon, Vice President Nicolas Maduro has announced. “It’s a moment of deep pain,” he said, accompanied by senior ministers.
Following a seven-hour procession through the streets of Caracas, the coffin holding the body of late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez has been placed in a chapel in the Military Academy of Venezuela, where it will stay until the Friday funeral.
Thousands of weeping supporters followed the hearse as it crawled from the military hospital where Chavez passed away to the Military Academy of Venezuela. Huge crowds lined up to bid a final farewell as his body was placed in half-open casket draped with the Venezuelan flag.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua has announced in televised comments that Maduro will assume the interim presidency. Elections are to be held in 30 days, he added. The country’s military chiefs appeared live on state television to pledge their loyalty to Maduro, whom Chavez had named as his preferred successor. The national army has been deployed to ensure the Venezuelan people’s sovereignty and security, Venezuelan Minister of Defense Diego Molero said.
The news comes weeks after Chavez returned from Cuba, where he underwent the fourth cancer operation. His ‘delicate condition’ had recently worsened due to complications from a respiratory infection.
Until his last days Chavez was in touch with the public. His last tweet, published on February 18, read, “I am still clinging to Christ and trust in my doctors and nurses. Ever onward to victory! We will live and overcome!”
Thousands of Chavez supporters have taken to the streets across the country to mourn their late president. Venezuela will observe seven days of mourning after the leader’s passing.
Iran declared a day of national mourning following Chavez’s death. The country`s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Chavez had fallen “martyr” to a “suspicious illness.” “He finally died from a suspicious illness and he gave his life… to the elevation of his country and the freedom of his people,” Ahmadinejad said in a message of condolence …”Venezuela lost its brave, strong son and the world lost a wise and revolutionary leader,” he concluded.
Saeb Sha’ath a middle east political expert told reporters that “It’s a sad day for us, we lost a courageous revolutionary leader, a people’s champion, a freedom fighter, a brother, and a comrade. Hugo Chavez defended the oppressed people round the world, he was a a great friend of the Palestinian people and huge supporter of their struggle against Zionism and imperialism.” Sha’ath stated that “Chavez was the continuation of the revolutionary awakening in Latin America, to free the continent’s resources from the grip of multinational corporations. Precisely that what Chavez did in Venezuela, under his leadership the Venezuelan people nationalize large sectors of their resources which was strangled by the trans-national corporations . Hugo Chaves was successfully brushing of the imperialist USA domination from Latin America and fulfilled many dreams of a better future for the marginalized majority of Venezuelan People”. He stated.
Venezuela’s Vice President Nicolas Maduro : USA poisoned President Hugo Chavez’s with cancer.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro said President Hugo Chavez’s enemies had poisoned him with cancer before announcing that two US Air Force officials would be expelled from the country for spying on the military and plotting to destabilize the country. Maduro identified one American as the Air Force attaché and said he had 24 hours to leave the country.
“We are aware of the allegations made by Venezuelan Vice President Maduro over state-run television in Caracas, and can confirm that our Air Attache, Col. David Delmonico, is en route back to the United States,” spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Todd Breasseale said in a statement.
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua later announced that two Air Force officials in total had been named “persona non grata” and were being kicked out of Venezuela, AFP reports. Maduro also accused President Hugo Chavez’s enemies of poisoning him with the cancer he has been battling for nearly two years. “Behind all of [the plots] are the enemies of the fatherland,” he said on state television. Maduro spoke after the government announced Chavez was in“very delicate” health after undergoing cancer surgery in December. Hugo Chavez died hours after Maduro’s statement.
Chavez : the United States could be infecting the region’s leaders with cancer.
In December 2011, Chavez speculated that the United States could be infecting the regions leaders with cancer after Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.
“I don’t want to make any reckless accusations,” Chavez said in light of something he found to be “very, very strange.”
“Would it be strange if [the United States] had developed a technology to induce cancer, and for no one to know it?” he asked.
In June 2011 Chavez confirmed in a televised address that he was recovering from an operation to remove an abscessed tumor with cancerous cells from his pelvic region. The following month, he returned to Cuba to receive further treatment.
In July 2012, Chavez declared that he had fully recovered from cancer just three months before the presidential poll. Chavez won a fourth term in the October election, only to return to Cuba the following month to receive more treatment.
In December, Chávez announced he would undergo a new operation after doctors in Cuba detected malignant cells. Chavez suffered a series of complications following the surgery which had caused respiratory failures. Chavez was unable to attend his inauguration in January due to poor health, and only returned to Venezuela the following month. On Friday, Maduro announced for the first time that Chavez had been receiving chemotherapy in Venezuela and was continuing to“battle for his life.”
Memorable quotes by the late leader of the New Bolivarian Revolution, Hugo Chavez.
“The Holocaust, that is what is happening right now in Gaza…The president of Israel at this moment should be taken to the International Criminal Court together with the president of the United States.” (2009)
“Israel criticizes Hitler a lot, so do we, but they’ve done something very similar, even worse, than what the Nazis did.” (visiting Iran in 2006)
“I hereby accuse the North American empire of being the biggest menace to our planet.”
“Come here, Mr. Danger, coward, murderer, you’re a mass murderer, you’re an alcoholic, you’re drunk, you’re immoral, you are the worst, Mr. Danger, you’re a sick, I know it personally…You’re a fool, Mr. Danger, or to tell you in my bad English – you are a donkey, Mr. George W. Bush… You are the worst I have seen on this planet. God save the world from this threat.”(on the US president in 2006).
“Yesterday the devil came here. Right here. [crosses himself] This place still smells of sulfur.” (after getting to the rostrum at the UN General Assembly the day after then-US President George W. Bush in 2006).
“We must confront the privileged elite who have destroyed a large part of the world.”
“It wouldn’t be strange that there had been civilization on Mars, but once capitalism got there it would finish the planet.” (2011)
“I think we are suffering from political impotence. We need political Viagra.” (2006)
RT contributed to this report.