BBC (UK), EFE, EL TIEMPO, EL NACIONAL, INFOBAE, INTORNO INTELIGENTE (Venezuela), LA VANGUARDIA (Spain)
CARACAS- Though not unexpected, the death of Hugo Chavez after 14 years in power and a nearly two-year battle with cancer, has left Venezeula without a leader. The government announced Wednesday that the funeral for the 58-year-old President was set for Friday, along with one week of public mourning.
The death, officially marked At 4:25pm on Tuesday, was announced (video below) by Vice-President, Nicolas Maduro, who was handpicked by Chávez to succeed him in the event of his passing. Maduro will assume the presidency temporarily until elections are held within 30 days.
El Tiempo notes that Maduro's interim hold on the office violates the Venezuelan constitution, which states that Speaker of the House, currently Diosdado Cabello, should take over.
Former paratrooper Chávez died in the Military hospital in Caracas, where overnight, crowds of supporters held vigil says the BBC. The supporters were chanting “We are all Chávez!”.
InfoBAE reports that Maduro gave a message to the government’s opposition, saying that maintaining peace is crucial during the coming days. He said that the Venezuelan society “is shaken, in pain, crying for their President, mourning a great leader of the country. It’s difficult to meet a human being like Chávez, who gave his life for us. What an immense fight he put up! We will never forget March 5th.”
Hugo Chávez lanzó su carrera política y en 1998, con un 56,2% de los votos, ganó las elecciones #murióCháveztwitter.com/NoticiasCaraco…
— Noticias Caracol (@NoticiasCaracol) March 5, 2013
La Vanguardia has a live blog with worldwide reactions and the tributes for El Comandante have been pouring in for the man who assumed power of the country in 1999.
Iranian President, Mahmud Ahmadinejad, said of Chávez: “He was the symbol of all the revolutionaries of the glorious and tragic history of Latin America”. EFE says that Iran has announced a day of mourning for the man that Iran promised “eternal friendship” to in 2012. Vladimir Putin also said that a great friend of Russia had been lost, stating that the relationship between Moscow and Caracas needs to be further strengthened and developed.
Chavez will lie in state for three days in the Military Academy in the capital. The official funeral will take place on Friday, March 8 at 10am local time. Seven days of mourning have been announced says El Nacional.