Venezuelan president Chavez dies

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 06, 2013 06:54 hrs
Venezuelan president Chavez dies

Caracas, Mar 6 (IBNS) Venezuelan President and self-styled socialist Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday after losing out to a nearly two year long battle against cancer finally. He was 58.

His death also plunged the nation with polarising factors in political uncertainly though state officials appealed for peace and assured people that the government and army and all other administrative divisions are united.

The military has been on alert after his death.

The man who had endeared himself to the poor but courted many controversies during his rule from 1999 to 2013 till his death was suffering from cancer in the pelvic region and underwent several operations.

He had almost disappeared from the public life in the past months since his last operation in December.

"Thank you, President, on behalf of the people you protected," said Vice President Nicolas Maduro who called him a giant of our times. "We must unite now more than ever," Maduro said. Maduro will be the interim president of Venezuela.

Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, announced Tuesday seven days of mourning for the death of President Hugo Chavez.

"From today we declare seven days of national mourning and the suspension of school activities at all levels," he said.

He said that, after consultation with the relatives of the president, the last rites of the leader of the Bolivarian Revolution would be performed.

On Wednesday, the body Chavez will be taken from the Military Hospital to the Hall of the Military Academy at Fort Tiuna in Caracas.

Formerly the leader of the Fifth Republic Movement political party from its foundation in 1997 until 2007, Chavez became the leader of the United Socialist Party of Venezuela (PSUV).

Following his own political ideology of Bolivarianism and "socialism of the 21st century", he focused on implementing socialist reforms in the country as a part of a social project known as the Bolivarian Revolution, which has seen the implementation of a new constitution, participatory democratic councils, the nationalization of several key industries, increased government funding of health care and education, and significant reductions in poverty, according to government figures.

However, his nationalization policy had many critics and it was under fire of corporate Venezuela.

Born into a working-class family in Sabaneta, Barinas, on 28 July 1954, Chavez became a career military officer, and after becoming dissatisfied with the Venezuelan political system, he founded the secretive Revolutionary Bolivarian Movement-200 (MBR-200) in the early 1980s to work towards overthrowing it.

Cha'vez led the MBR-200 in an unsuccessful coup d´e'tat against the Democratic Action government of President Carlos Andre's Pe'rez in 1992, for which he was imprisoned.

After his release from jail two years later, he founded a social democratic political party, the Fifth Republic Movement, and was elected president of Venezuela in 1998.

He subsequently introduced a new constitution which increased rights for marginalized groups and altered the structure of Venezuelan government, and was re-elected in 2000.

During his second presidential term, he introduced a system of Bolivarian Missions,Communal Councils and worker-managed cooperatives, as well as a programme of land reform, whilst also nationalizing various key industries.

On 7 Oct 2012, Cha'vez won his country´s presidential election for a fourth time, defeating Henrique Capriles, and was elected for another six-year term.

Cha'vez had married twice. He separated from his first wife Nancy Colmenares after 18 years of marriage.They had three children- Rosa Virginia, Mari'a Gabriela, and Hugo Rafael, the latter of whom suffers from behavioural problems.

He married again a journalist Marisabel Rodri'guez de Cha'vez, but the marriage collapsed in 2000. Cha'vez had another daughter, Rosine's, from the second marriage.

The state funeral will be held on Friday.

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