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Venzuelan dictator Chavez dead at 58

Hugo Chavez

Hugo Chavez

CARACAS — Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died after a two-year battle with cancer, ending the socialist leader's 14-year rule of the South American country, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in a televised speech.

The flamboyant 58-year-old leader had undergone four operations in Cuba for a cancer that was first detected in his pelvic region in mid-2011. His last surgery was on Dec. 11 and he had not been seen in public since.

"It's a moment of deep pain," Maduro, accompanied by senior ministers, said, his voice choking.

Chavez easily won a new 6-year term at an election in October and his death will devastate millions of supporters who adored his charismatic style, anti-U.S. rhetoric and oil-financed policies that brought subsidized food and free health clinics to long-neglected slums.

Detractors, however, saw his one-man style, gleeful nationalizations and often harsh treatment of opponents as evidence of an egotistical dictator whose misplaced statist economics wasted a historic bonanza of oil revenues.

Chavez's death paves the way for a new election that will test whether his socialist "revolution" can live on without his dominant personality at the helm. (Reporting by Andrew Cawthorne and Daniel Wallis; Additional reporting by Girish Gupta, Mario Naranjo, Marianna Parraga and Patricia Velez in Caracas, David Adams in Miami, Daniel Bases in New York; Editing by Kieran Murray and Sandra Maler)

Comments

Somebody 1 year, 9 months ago

I imagine Obama will go to his fellow dictators funeral at tax payers expense.

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FryarTuk 1 year, 9 months ago

The adage: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely seems fitting for Sr. Chavez. Folks from América del Sur we deal with say that he is another Fiddle Castro, they got the same tune. They will dance tonight I'm sure. I am not that macabre but we know what TJ said about refreshing the tree of liberty with the blood of dictators. Fidel de dee.

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USTPC 1 year, 9 months ago

If Venezuela needs a replacement dictator they can have Obama.

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dingleberry 1 year, 9 months ago

Perhaps there would have been a better outcome if he had gone to a country with a real medical system, like we used to have. I can't make the funeral but I am sure we will have our best and brightest hacks in the crowd.

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