EL NACIONAL, VENEZOLANA DE TELEVISION, EL CARABOBEÑO (Venezuela), DIARIO POPULAR (ARGENTINA)
CARACAS - Venezuelans have been lining up over the past 24 hours around the Venezuelan Military Academy in the capital to say their last goodbyes to the late President Hugo Chávez.
Meanwhile, Chief of the Presidential Guard in Venezuela, General José Ornella offered new details of Chávez’s last hours, reports El Nacional. The 58-year-old President died from a massive heart attack, after a nearly two-year battle against cancer. Ornella, who spent much time with Chávez during the final months, told AP that in his final moments, he clung to life. Even though his voice couldn't be heard, Ornella read his lips:“I do not want to die," Chavez said. "Please do not let me die.”
Ornella added: “He suffered a lot -- one day, one of the doctors will tell the story.”
According to El Carabobeño, at least 11 Latin American and Caribbean leaders have confirmed their presence in Venezuela for Friday's funeral. Argentina's Cristina Kirchner and and Bolivia's Evo Morales were already in Caracas to join the stream of ordinary Venezuelans paying tribute to the body of El Comandante lying in state at the Military Academy in Fuerte Tiuna.
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Although most countries have already expressed their official condolences, some took the occasion to not-so-subtley criticize the past 14 years of Chavez rule.
Venezolana de Televisión aired the comments of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper: “At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy the rule of law and respect for human rights.” Harper added that he looked forward “to working with Chávez's successor and other leaders in the region to build a hemisphere that is more prosperous, secure and democratic.”
The Venezuelan government fired back on Wednesday saying that “it has freely and democratically chosen its Socialist destiny, is obliged to remind the representative of the Canadian government that it has been thanks to this Bolivarian Revolution that our future as an independent and sovereign country appears more radiant and promising than ever, by virtue of the legacy of our historic leader, the Commander President Hugo Chávez...”
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff described Chávez as a “great Latin American” and “whose death leaves a void in the region. We see, in Chávez, a great leader, an irreparable loss, and most of all, a friend of Brazil.”