Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies

By Jean Merlain 3-5-2013

hugo chavez
Hugo Chávez in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Jan/26/2003.

Hugo Chavez is dead. Today he died at the age of 58 after a two year-battle with cancer. The Venezuelan President called himself a “21st Century Socialist” while he presiding for 14 years over the South American country.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro made the announcement in a national television broadcast. He was surrounded by government officials. Maduro said Chavez died at 4:25pm local time. Chavez was staying at a military hospital in Caracas, Venezuela.

Chavez underwent four operations in Cuba for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region in mid-2011. His last operation was on December 11, 2012 and has not been seen in public since. However, on February 15, Venezuelan government published photos of the President smiling while lying in bed reading a newspaper with his two daughters.

Chavez had been suffering from respiratory problems after a lung infection and was still breathing through tracheal tube.

His last tweet was on February 18 reading, “I still clung to Christ and trust in my doctors and nurses. Ever onward to victory! We will live and overcome!”

In front of a United Nations Assembly in 2006, Chavez accused the United States of trying to orchestrate his overthrow, referring to then-President George W. Bush as the devil.

A new election will now be held. Chavez has long supported Vice President Maduro to succeed him should he died. However, there is no clear successor for his party and an untested opposition.

Chavez was born on July 28th, 1954 in the Venezuelan state of Barinas. He was one of seven children His parents were both school teachers and the family lived relatively in poverty. He attended Daniel O’Leary High School in the city of Barinas before going to the Venezuelan Academy of Military Sciences in the capital of Caracas where he said he found his true vocation.

Chavez won re-election in 2000, survived a recall election in 2004, and won another six-year term in 2006. In October, he secured another re-election victory describing it as “a perfect battle.” But because of his cancer complications, he missed his inauguration in January.


Image Courtesy:  Agência Brasil