Hugo Chavez

A fiery leftist, Hugo Chavez was a steadfast ally of dictators like Cuba's Fidel Castro while loudly opposing the United States. He claimed capitalism was destroying the world and tried to transform Venezuela into a socialist state. Millions of Venezuelans loved him because he showered the poor with social programs.

C. DiMattei

It was busier than usual inside Café Canela last night, but owner Ramon Peraza repeatedly came out from behind the counter to give new arrivals a hug or a handshake. All of them were jubilant.

But Peraza struggles to describe his emotions.

“I feel that my heart is very, very happy and quiet, quiet. We are waiting for this for many years,” says Peraza

When Peraza says the word “quiet,” he makes a soothing gesture over his chest. 

Four Musical Ways People Celebrated Hugo Chavez's Death

Mar 6, 2013
Brenda Medina / El Nuevo Herald

All Tuesday night, we listened to South Floridians react to the death of Hugo Chavez. Many (most) of the reactions were celebratory. Those celebrations took the form of songs, drive-by shoutings and apparently an accordion death ballad.

Below is a roundup of the most colorful reactions to the death of Venezuela's oft-beloved and perhaps equally hated leader.

Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez, has died, Vice President Nicolás Maduro announced in a televised statement.

Chávez died at a military hospital in Caracas at 4:25 p.m. Tuesday. He was 58.

In power since 1999, the former military commander became an icon of socialist policies in Latin America. With his country's oil wealth as backup, he launched fierce and unyielding criticism of the United States and its allies.

The AP reports:

The Venezuelan government has released photographs of ailing President Hugo Chávez, who has not made a public appearance since he left for Cuba in December.

In the Bolivar Plaza of downtown Caracas, supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez arrive carrying photographs of their leader and singing songs urging him on. Music blares from loudspeakers, repeating over and over, "Chavez, my commander, is here to stay."

Chavez, however, is most definitely not here, and increasingly many Venezuelans wonder if he'll ever be back. He flew to Cuba, Venezuela's closest ally, for an operation that took place on Dec. 11. Before leaving for his fourth cancer surgery, Chavez named a successor.

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Guillermo Esteves

2012 may be remembered in Latin American for what didn't happen more than for what actually did, especially in Venezuela and Cuba.

VENEZUELA

The year began ominously for Venezuelan nationals living in South Florida.  The U.S. State Department expelled the country's consul-general, alleging she was involved in a cyber-terrorism plot. In January, Venezuela's Miami consulate was shut down by President Hugo Chavez, who was facing a tough reelection campaign. 

Venezuelans must prepare for "complex and difficult days" after President Hugo Chavez' cancer surgery, the country's vice president says.

Chavez Faces Toughest Test In Venezuela Election

Aug 15, 2012
http://www.flickr.com/photos/www_ukberri_net/7644910450/
cc-by Valter Campanato - Agencia Brasil.

Forget the US election. 

There may be an even more important presidential vote taking place in Venezuela this fall. 

Miami Herald South America bureau chief Jim Wyss updates WLRN's Phil Latzman on Hugo Chavez's fight to keep his job against upstart opponent Henrique Capriles. Also discussed: political strife in Colombia and Latin American countries tasting rare Olympic glory during the Summer Games in London.  

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