Caracas, 24 Rabiul Akhir 1434/6 March 2013 (MINA) – Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez who supports the freedom of Palestinians died on Tuesday afternoon (5/3) at local time in the hospital of the capital city.

         According to  Latin Information Agency, Prensa Latina, the information is broadcasted on national television by the Vice President Nicolas Maduro,  as he called on its people to be calm, united and wait for further news related to Chavez’s funeral.

       “We have received the most difficult and tragic  news… President Hugo Chavez died today at 4:25 pm,” Maduro said on state television, “This is a moment of deep pain,” he said, ABC News quoted by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) as reporting.

         Maduro said the United States was behind the assassination attempt on Chavez, although the 58-year-old men died after two years struggling with cancer.

         Venezuela’s military chief has also appeared live on state television to prove their devotion to Chavez by announcing troops and police were deployed on the streets.

         Chavez supporters meet the streets, chanted their supports to the former leader. Chavez planned to be buried on Friday (local time) with mourning time for a week after the death announcement.

        Latin presidents, including the President of Peru Ollanta Humala, President of Panama Ricardo Martinelli, and Enrique Pena Nieto Mexican president expressed deep sorrow over the death of the head Venezuelan State.

          During his life, Chavez supports the Palestinian freedom. The Israeli brutality actions in Palestine is always condemned. Moreover, the eight-day Israeli offensive in Gaza last November,  he condemned the attack, as saying it as a “savage” and “barbarian” attack.

          Venezuela is one of Latin American countries which supports Palestinian freedom. 17 September 2011, Chavez sent a letter to UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, to support Palestinian independence.

In Memoriam: Hugo Chavez 1954 – 2013

       Popular Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez succumbed to cancer today in a hospital in Caracas ending his 14 years as the leader of the oil rich South American country.

The flamboyant 58-year-old 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 December 11 and he had not been seen in public since.

       Chavez easily won a new six-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.

       Pres. Chavez was certainly controversial but it was through his economic and social policies that Venezuela reduced the poverty level from a low of 55.44%  in 1998 to 26 percent at the end of 2008. Extreme poverty fell by 72%. He increased access to health care and education. In 2003, he made food security a priority by opening a nation wide chain of supermarkets and setting price ceilings for basic staple foods.

      Pres. Chavez’ human rights record was somewhat mixed:

In the 1999 Venezuelan constitution, 116 of 300 articles were concerned withhuman rights; these included increased protections for indigenous peoples and women, and established the rights of the public to education, housing, healthcare, and food. It called for dramaticdemocratic reforms such as ability to recall politicians from office by popular referendum, increased requirements for government transparency, and numerous other requirements to increase localized, participatory democracy, in favor of centralized administration. It gave citizens the right to timely and impartial information, community access to media, and a right to participate in acts of civil disobedience.

     However, as recently as 2010, Amnesty International has criticized the Chávezadministration for targeting critics following several politically motivated  arrests. Freedom House lists Venezuela as being “partly free” in its 2011 Freedom in the World annual report, noting a recent decline in civil liberties. A 2010 Organization of American States report found concerns with freedom of expression, human rights abuses, authoritarianism, press freedom, threats to democracy, as well as erosion of separation of powers, the economic infrastructure and ability of the president to appoint judges to federal courts.

     Born Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías into a working-class family in Sabaneta, Barinas, he is survived by two ex-wives, Nancy Colmenares and Marisabel Rodríguez, and four children – Hugo Rafael, María Gabriela and Rosa Virginia by his first wife and Rosinés by his second.


Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)

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