Venezuela President and socialist revolutionary Hugo Chavez is dead at age 58. The revolutionary who crusaded against United States influence and helped lead a leftist revival across Latin America succumbed to a two year struggle with cancer.
Breitbart reports that “Vice President Nicolas Maduro, surrounded by other government officials, announced the death in a national television broadcast. He said Chavez died at 4:25 p.m. local time.”
“We have received the hardest and most tragic news that… comandante President Hugo Chavez died today at 4:25 pm,” Maduro announced on state television.
The Washington Post writes of Chavez:
As an obscure 37-year-old lieutenant colonel, Mr. Chavez had led a failed coup in 1992 against President Carlos Andres Perez’s government. Six years later, on Dec. 6, 1998, Mr. Chavez was elected president in a landslide after pledging to replace a broken, corrupt political system and redistribute the country’s substantial oil-fueled wealth.
Mr. Chavez left Venezuela deeply polarized, his supporters lionizing him as a courageous rebel determined to take on the elites, and his foes painting him as a dangerous demagogue and strongman.
The former army paratrooper promised a revolution and reveled in what he considered a battle to end all vestiges of the power structure then in place in Venezuela, especially its close economic and political ties to the United States.
Quickly moving to overturn the old order, Mr. Chavez marginalized the traditional power brokers who had held influence in Venezuela, attacked establishment institutions and upended the country’s economy.
Combative in olive green uniform and red beret, Mr. Chavez called his opponents “degenerates” and “squealing pigs,” referred to the Catholic Church hierarchy as “devils in vestments” and labeled critics “counterrevolutionaries.”
“Oligarchs tremble, because now is when the revolution is going forward,” he warned in 2000, after the constitution had been redrawn and a new legislature dominated by his allies had taken over. “This is going to be delicious; we’re going to deliver a knockout punch to the counterrevolution.”
In the wake of Chavez’s death, Venezuela has deployed its army and police. Maduro said.
Venezuela accused the United States of giving him cancer.
According to a report, Chavez had amasses small fortune valued at around $2 billion. That will do him no good where he has gone. I will not miss Hugo Chavez, but it is a great tragedy that one given so much would rebel against his Creator as he did.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”