Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez illuminated Latin America
The Venezuelan Vice-President, Nicolás Maduro, announced a week of mourning in the country, but emphasized that "Those who die for life, can't be really dead." All Venezuelan schools will remain closed until the 11th of March 2013. On the 8th of March, the official farewell ceremony for President Hugo Chávez will take place at 10 in the morning, with many Heads of States participating.
by Olivia Kroth
In Caracas, a huge crowd in Plaza Bolívar shouted, "Chávez lives, the struggle continues." Venezuelans were mourning on the plazas of their cities, towns and villages, as Tamara Pearson reported in Venezuelanalysis.
Argentina's President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, already arrived in Caracas, after hearing the bad news that her colleague Hugo Chávez had died in the early morning hours. Cristina Fernández and her late husband, President Kirchner of Argentina, had been very close friends of Hugo Chávez.
Cristina Fernández flew to Caracas, clad in black, with black sunglasses on, so people would not see her eyes, red from crying. She was accompanied by Argentina's Foreign Minister, Héctor Timerman; the Interior Minister, Florencio Randazzo; the legal and technical Secretary, Carlos Zanmini; two Senators, Miguel Ángel Pichetto and Aníbal Fernández; a Deputy, Juan Cabandié.
From Bolivia, President Evo Morales sent a message of condolence, "Hugo Chávez will always be present in all the regions of the world." In the name of his nation, he expressed solidarity with the people of Venezuela in these difficult days.
From Cuba, Fidel and Raúl Castro sent a condolence message, entitled "Hasta siempre Comandante!" The text was reprinted in the major Venezuelan media, Correo del Orinoco and Patria Grande. "With deep and painful sorrow, our nation and the Revolutionary Government of Cuba took notice of President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías' death," the Cuban leaders wrote.
"Cuba will keep eternal loyalty to the legacy and memory of Commander President Hugo Chávez, his ideals of unity, integration and independence of Our America. The Bolivarian Revolution in Venezuela will always have our unwavering support. President Chávez was the protagonist of an extraordinary battle. We remember him as a militant patriot in the service of Venezuela and La Patria Grande," the message continued.
The condolence telegram also appraised his historic place in the line of Latin American freedom fighters, "Hugo Chávez reincarnated the Liberator, Simón Bolívar, to accomplish what he had been denied to finish. Comandante Chávez is the founding father of ALBA and CELAC."
Raúl and Fidel Castro, who were very close friends and knew him well, went on to praise the late Venezuelan President's personal qualities, "His heroic battle against death is an unsurpassed example of strength. His work of a lifetime is irreversible."
Of course, the Cuban leaders mentioned their common enemy, imperialism: "Hugo Chávez was also brilliant in the international struggles against imperialism, always defending the poor, the workers, our indigenous peoples. Hugo Chávez was eloquent, persuasive and optimistic. His example will motivate and lead us in our future battles. Hasta la victoria siempre!"
From Ecuador, President Rafael Correa sent a message of condolence saying that Hugo Chávez died for the life of his adored Venezuela, so that his fatherland could live on. He also died for a planet with more justice and humanistic values. "Therefore we cannot say that he is dead. He will remain alive now more than ever," Rafael Correa wrote.
He also expressed his solidarity with the extended Chávez family: Hugo, the father; Dona Elena, the mother; the President's children, Rosa Virginia, María Gabriela, Rosinés and Hugito; last but not least, all of the President's brothers, first and foremost the eldest, Adán Chávez, who is Governor in the Chávez home state of Barinas. Rafael Correa sent them all a "caring embrace."
President Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua wrote in his message of condolence, "Hugo Chávez came into this world to illuminate Latin America." On Revolution Square of Nicaragua's capital Managua, people gathered to commemorate President Hugo Chávez. "We are gathered here tonight, full of spiritual strength, to continue with these battles, to fulfil the dreams of Simón Bolívar, José Marti and Hugo Chávez," the Nicaraguan President said to the crowd.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putin, also sent a telegram of condolences to Venezuela. The text on the Kremlin.ru website says: Mr. Putin who met Hugo Chávez on a number of occasions, noted his outstanding qualities, "He was an exceptional and strong person who looked to the future and always set for himself the highest objectives."
Vladimir Putin also lauded Hugo Chávez' personal efforts to lay a solid foundation for the partnership between the two countries, encouraging active political contacts and getting major humanitarian and economic projects underway. He added that the two countries need to keep following this road now, strengthening and developing their ties.
President Vladimir Putin emphasized that the Venezuelan people's inherent spirit of endurance and vital energy will get them through the trials that have come their way and give them the strength to continue the work of building a strong, independent and prosperous Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.
May your soul rest in peace, dear Hugo Chávez! Thank you for everything you did and gave to the world.
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