Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez is dead at the age of 58. Chavez died today at 4:25 p.m. Hugo Chavez was in Cuba for months where he was receiving treatment for cancer, which he was diagnosed with 2 years ago.
Chavez hated America, and blamed all of the world’s problems on the United States. He idolized the 19th-century independence leader Simon Bolivar and renamed his country the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Hugo Chavez held office for 14 years where his tumultuous and divisive rule won him enthusiastic support among the poor but hatred from business leaders and wealthy Venezuelans.
Chavez had undergone four operations in Cuba for cancer. The cancer was detected in his pelvic region in mid-2011, and then he vanished from the public eye after a surgery that resulted in complications and respiratory infections in December. During a live TV address, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said,
“His project, his flags will be raised with honor and dignity. Commander, thank you, thank you so much, on behalf of these people whom you protected.”
Elections will be held in 30 days to replace Hugo Chavez, but Venezuela’s military chiefs quickly pledged their loyalty to Vice President Maduro who will take over until the new election. Chavez supporters ran into the streets in tears chanting and shouting after the news was announced, ”Chavez lives!” and “We are Chavez!”. Chavez easily won a new 6-year term at an election that was held in October. His death is devastating for “millions of his supporters who adored his magnetizing style, anti-U.S. rhetoric and oil policies that brought subsidized food and free health clinics to long-neglected slums.”
Officials have announced that Chavez’s corpse will lie in state at a Caracas military academy until a formal funeral ceremony on Friday, and seven days of mourning will be observed.