Venezuela: First Reactions to Hugo Chávez's Death

On March 5, 2013, the world learned of the death of the president of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez Frias.

According to TeleSur [es], Vice President Nicolás Maduro “made ​​the announcement on radio and television from the Carlos Arvelo Military Hospital in Caracas (the capital), where he said ‘at 4:25 pm today, March 5, the commander and president has died.'”

After winning the elections on October 7, 2012, Chavez traveled to Cuba to undergo surgery and a series of medical treatments due to his battle against cancer. His condition worsened and he was not seen again in the media since December.

On Twitter you can follow netizen's opinions through the words Murió Hugo Chávez [es, Hugo Chávez has died], Nicolás Maduro, and the hashtag #MuereChávez [es, Hugo Chávez dies].

With regard to his famous anti-imperialist ideology, Colombian writer Hector Abad (@hectorabadf) [es] writes:

@hectorabadf: Lo cierto es que Chávez sí inoculó el chavismo por toda América Latina.

@hectorabadf: The truth is that Chávez did in fact inculcate chavismo throughout Latin America

Meanwhile from Venezuela, Nelson Bocaranada (@NelsonBocaranda) [es] shares his condolences:

Miles marcharon en apoyo al presidente Chávez en enero, mientras seguía bajo tratamiento en Cuba. Foto de Jesus Gil, copyright Demotix

Thousands marched in support of President Chávez in January 2013 while he was still undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba. Photo by Jesus Gil, copyright Demotix

@NelsonBocaranda: Hugo Chávez Frías 1954-2013. Paz a sus restos y nuestro sentido de pésame a sus familiares y seguidores.

@NelsonBocaranda: Hugo Chávez Frías 1954-2013. Peace for his remains and our most felt condolences to his family and followers.

Mauricio Rodríguez (@MauricioRG28) [es] shows his admiration for the work of Hugo Chávez:

@mauricioRG28: Hombre sin tiempo ya eres eterno.Has entregado todo a la construcción de una patria incluyente y justa. Por eso, Comandante,tu pueblo te ama

@mauricioRG28: Timeless man you are already eternal. You have given everything to build an inclusive and just country. Because of that, commander, the people love you.

And Arturo Cazal (@ArturoCazal) [es] is grateful:

@ArturoCazal: Qué puedo decir. Seguiremos adelante. Luchando, amando… Gracias comandante Chávez

@ArturoCazal: What can I say. We will continue forward. Fighting, loving…Thank you commander Chávez

Roberto Juan Carmona (@SelenioE) [es] considers Chávez to be immortal:

@SelenioE: Chávez es eterno, Chávez no estará nunca en una tumba.

@SelenioE: Chávez is eternal, Chávez will never be in a grave.

And Andreína Miárquez (@mintina) [es] refers to the polarization Chávez sowed:

@mintina: Lo único que deseo es que Hugo Chávez se lleve con él todo el odio que sembró. Adiós.

@mintina: I only wish that Hugo Chávez takes with him all the hate that he sowed. Good bye.

Lourdes (@lourdes_g) thinks it's time for Venezuelans to take back their country:

@lourdes_g: This is your chance…take to the streets and take back your country!

Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo (@atoledomanrique) [es] also tweeted:

@atoledo: Es la hora de la Democracia y del pueblo venezolano. Descanse en paz, Presidente Chávez.

@atoledo: It is the time for democracy and for the Venezuelan people. Rest in peace, President Chávez.

Henrique Capriles (@hcapriles) [es], the representative of the Venezuelan opposition, called for unity:

@hcapriles:En momentos difíciles debemos demostrar nuestro profundo amor y respeto a nuestra Venezuela!Unidad de la familia venezolana!

@hcapriles: During difficult times we must show our profound love and respect for our Venezuela! Unity for the Venezuelan family!

And RJ Gómez [es] wrote on Facebook:

Ojala que ahora El y el pueblo de Venezuela puedan tener paz.

I hope that Chávez and the Venezuelan people can now have peace.

Yrivalera (@Yri_27) [es] invites netizens to show respect when they share their opinions.

@Yri_27: #MuereChávez y la gente burlándose. ¿Qué importa si no eras Chavista? Es un ser humano y merece respeto.

@Yri_27: #MuereChávez [Chávez dies] and people are making jokes. Who cares if you were not chavista? He is a human being and deserves respect.

Finally, several Latin American presidents expressed their condolences via Twitter.

Juan Manuel Santos (@JuanManSantos) [es], Colombia:

@JuanManSantos: Lamento profundamente la muerte del presidente de Venezuela Hugo Chávez Frías. Nuestras sinceras condolencias…

@JuanManSantos: I am deeply sorry about the death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez Frías. Our sincere condolences…

Ollanta Humala (@Ollanta_HumalaT) [es], Peru:

@Ollanta_HumalaT: Adiós Comandante y amigo Hugo Chávez. Mis sentidas condolencias a su familia y a todo el pueblo venezolano.

@Ollanta_HumalaT: Good bye Commander and friend Hugo Chávez. My heartfelt condolences for his family and the Venezuelan people.

Evo Morales, the President of Bolivia, stated that “the oligarchies, the empire, are surely celebrating,” according to CNN México (@CNNMex) [es]. Argentine President Cristina Fernández declared national mourning [es], including flags at half mast. And Sebastián Piñera, from Chile, expressed [es]: “We had differences, but I learned to appreciate the strength and commitment with which Hugo Chavez fought for his ideas”.

While in Venezuela a military and police deployment was ordered [es], thousands of opinions have been shared online, many focusing on the forthcoming changes in the country's democracy. Newspaper El País from Colombia published a multimedia timeline [es] with 36 events that marked the life of President Chavez, referred to as the leader of the XXI century Socialism.

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