The iconic and much loved leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has died at the age of 58, following 14 epic years in power. Mr Chavez was suffering from an undisclosed type of cancer and had been receiving treatment at a healthcare facility in Cuba.
As news of his death has spread, mourners have begun to gather outside the hospital in Caracas in which he passed away. Several hundred of his supporters are already in attendance, chanting the phrase, “We are all Chavez!” The loss of this leader has been felt not only in Venezuela, but across the entirety of Latin America. Mr Chavez had many allies in countries across the region and many millions of supporters in Venezuela alone.
Vice-President, Nicolas Maduro, will now take office for the next 30 days during which point an election will be held. Speaking of the election, Elias Jaua, the Foreign Minister in the country said, “It is the mandate that Comandante President Hugo Chavez gave us”. He went on to confirm that Maduro would be the candidate for the United Socialist Party (PSUV).
On the 14th of January this year, reports of Chavez making a slow but steady recovery were circulating following his failure to attend his own inauguration. At this point Mr Chavez had not been seen in public for several months but no details of his illness had been made public knowledge. There will now be a seven day mourning period in Venezuela and his funeral is scheduled to take place on Friday.
Henrique Capriles, the opposition party leader, has offered his condolences to the family and friends of Mr Chavez, stating that although they were adversaries, he never considered them to be enemies.
The future of Venezuela is to be decided with the next election, which although said to be taking place in the next 30 days, has no specific date. It is unclear if Capriles were to be elected to power, if he will carry on the legacy of Chavez’s ‘socialist revolution’, or if certain measures and policies would be reversed.