He was a great man, a humble man, a man of his people. He is in the pantheon of truly commendable and decent leaders, along with Abe Lincoln, Mother Theresa, Albert Schweitzer and Jonas Salk. He delivered Venezuela into the ranks of leading and important nations.
He will long and sorely be missed. Link to article, excerpts below:
[INDENT=3]Hugo Chávez, 1954-2013
A Polarizing Figure Who Led a Movement
[INDENT=3]CARACAS, Venezuela — Hugo Chávez, who rose from poverty in a dirt-floor adobe house to unrivaled influence in Venezuela as its president, consolidating power and wielding the country’s oil reserves as a tool for his Socialist-inspired change, died Tuesday, Vice President Nicolás Maduro said. He was 58.
Mr. Maduro said Mr. Chávez died at the military hospital in Caracas, where he had been treated for complications arising from his long struggle with cancer.
With a televangelist’s gift for oratory, Mr. Chávez led a nationalist movement that lashed out at the United States government, moneyed Venezuelans and his own disaffected followers, whom he often branded as traitors.
[INDENT=3]In office, he upended the political order at home and used oil revenues to finance client states in Latin America, notably Bolivia and Nicaragua. Inspired by Simón Bolívar, the mercurial Venezuelan aristocrat who led South America’s 19th-century wars of independence, Mr. Chávez sought to unite the region and erode Washington’s influence.
“The hegemonic pretensions of the American empire are placing at risk the very survival of the human species,” he said in a 2006 speech at the United Nations. In the same speech he called President George W. Bush “the devil.”
For years, he succeeded in curbing American influence. He breathed life into Cuba, the hemisphere’s only Communist nation, with economic assistance; its revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro, was not only an ally but also an inspiration.