03/06/13 - Xinhua (Beijing) - Latin America mourns Chavez's death
Tributes flooded in from leaders of Latin American nations shortly after
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced the death of President
Hugo Chavez on Tuesday.
In his message of condolences to the government and people of Venezuela,
Peruvian President Ollanta Humala expressed "deep sorrow" to his "sister
nation of Venezuela" and Chavez's family.
"We want to give them a big hug and our Bolivarian, South American and
Latin American solidarity," he said.
During his lifetime, Chavez often cited Simon Bolivar, the 19th-century
Venezuelan-born independence hero for Latin America, as his personal
Aware of the political tension in Venezuela between Chavez supporters and
opponents, Humala also urged "unity" and "reflection," saying "things must
be carried out in a peaceful way."
Peru's Congress observed a minute of silence for the decease of the
Venezuelan leader, who returned home on Feb. 18 after receiving medical
treatment for 70 days in Cuba.
Mourning Chavez's death, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez decreed
three days of mourning and ordered flags to be flown at half mast.
Clearing all her agenda for the rest of the week, Fernandez announced she
will be traveling to Caracas for the funeral.
Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto expressed his condolences via Twitter.
"I am sorry for the passing of President Hugo Chavez. My sincerest
Condolences to his family and the Venezuelan people," said the Mexican
president on his official Twitter account.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff described Chavez as a "great Latin
American" and "friend of Brazil," whose death leaves a void in the region.
"We recognize (in Chavez) a great leader, an irreparable loss and, above
all, a friend of Brazil," Rousseff said before calling for a minute of
silence at an official event with rural leaders.
Bolivian President Evo Morales, a close personal friend and ideological
ally of Chavez's, decided to travel to Caracas Tuesday night to attend the
funeral, Communication Minister Amanda Davila said.
At a press conference later, Morales expressed his condolences not just to
the Venezuelan people, but "to the whole world."
In Colombia, conservative President Juan Manuel Santos said that despite
their ideological differences, Chavez's death represented a great loss for
Santos said he would accompany Chavez's family and the nation in their
sorrow "as you accompanied us," referring to Venezuela's role in
"accompanying" ongoing peace talks between the Colombian government and
leftist FARC guerrillas.
In Costa Rica, President Laura Chinchilla expressed her nation's
"solidarity" with Venezuela and the Chavez family.
In Ecuador, another close regional ally, the Foreign Ministry said in a
statement that Chavez was not only the president of Venezuela, but the
"leader of a historic process of change" in Latin America.
"The close brotherhood between our two countries and the legacy that the
life of this memorable revolutionary leaves behind will continue to
strengthen the ties between the two nations and the integration of Latin
America," it said.
"Ecuador experiences this loss as its own and augurs the best successes for
the future of Venezuela, with the conviction that it will know how to
preserve and exalt its history, revolution, development, brotherhood and
solidarity," the statement added.
In Nicaragua, the government called for a public tribute at one of the main
plazas in capital Managua.
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