Caracas, 24 Rabiul Akhir 1434/6 March 2013 (MINA) – Reactions to the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez have been as mixed, polemical and outsized as the leader was in life, with some saying his passing was a tragic loss and others calling it an opportunity for Venezuela to escape his long shadow, according to Al Jazeera reports monitored by Mi’raj News Agency (MINA) Wednesday (6/3).
Leaders from Latin America, many of them his staunch allies, lined up to salute Chavez, with Cuba leading the plaudits to a man hailed as a “true son” to the communist nation’s revolutionary icon Fidel Castro. The media also released the reactions such as:
Cuba’s President, Raul Castro: “It is with deep and excruciating sorrow that our people and the revolutionary government have learned of President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias’ decease.” “The Cuban people view him as one of their most outstanding sons.”
UN Secretary General, Ban Kii Moon: “President [Hugo] Chavez spoke to the challenges and aspirations of the most vulnerable Venezuelans.”
Brazil’s President, Dilma Rousseff: “We recognise a great leader, an irreparable loss and above all a friend of Brazil, a friend of the Brazilian people.”
Russian UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin: “He was a great politician for his country, Latin America and the world. He played a very important role in the development of relations between Venezuela and Russia, so we feel very badly about it.”
US President, Barack Obama : “At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government.” “As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.”
Bolivia’s President, Evo Morales: “Chavez will continue to be an inspiration for all peoples who fight for their liberation.” “Chavez will always be present in all the regions of the world and all social sectors. Hugo Chavez will always be with us, accompanying us.”
Ecuador’s President, Rafael Correa: “Chavez’s death was an “irreparable loss” for Latin America. We have lost a revolutionary, but millions of us remain inspired.”
Columbia’s President, Juan Mual Santos: “Chavez’s death was “a great loss for Venezuela and the region, for Colombia and for me personally”.
Uruguay’s President, Jose Mujica: “You are always saddened by a death. But when you are talking about someone who has fought on the front line, and about someone who I remember I once called ‘the most generous leader I have met’, well the pain takes on a whole new dimension.”
Argentine President Cristina Fernandez declared three days of mourning in Argentina. She is expected to travel to Venezuela for Chavez’s funeral, as is Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega vowed to to carry on the legacy of Chavez.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered his condolences and said he may attend Friday’s funeral. China called Chavez “a great leader and great friend of the Chinese people.”
Former US President, Jimmy Carter: “Chavez “will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments”.
“We came to know a man who expressed a vision to bring profound changes to his country to benefit especially those people who had felt neglected and marginalised.”
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. (T/P03/E1)
Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)