Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, has died, according to Vice President Nicolas Maduro. Chavez died after a long fight with cancer, succumbing to the illness at the age of 58. Chavez was known for being concerned about growing US influence in Latin America, and encouraged other leaders in the region to fight US power.
Chavez had several surgeries this year, as his health started to slow him down. He hasn’t been seen publicly since December 11 and complicated national politics with his illness. Chavez pushed forward with major plans to turn Venezuela into a major oil producing country. He was also one of a small number of socialist leaders to gain global prominence.
“After many readings, debates, discussions, travels around the world, etcetera, I am convinced — and I believe this conviction will be for the rest of my life — that the path to a new, better and possible world is not capitalism. The path is socialism,” he said back in 2005.
Chavez fought to put much of the country’s oil revenues into the hands of the poor. He also worked to eliminate illiteracy in his country and provide affordable food. He had a reputation for suppressing media that opposed him and was often accused of undermining voices of dissent.
During his tenure, Chavez also made changes to the way the government of his country does business by ridding the nation of an independent judiciary. He was also accused of trumping up corruption charges against his political opponents. He accused the US of working to overthrow him while he was in office, even referring to former President George W. Bush as the devil in front of the United Nations.
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