Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Algeria's ailing Bouteflika clinches fourth term amid fraud claims

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Police arrest S. Korea ferry captain for negligence

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • World honours Garcia Marquez’s magical literary legacy

    Read more

  • Ukraine: ‘One bloody incident could scupper Geneva deal’

    Read more

  • Top Hollande adviser resigns over conflict of interest accusation

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Video: Tensions remain high in Mariupol despite Geneva deal

    Read more

  • In Prijedor, survivors fight to keep memory alive

    Read more

  • Deadly avalanche strikes Everest in worst-ever disaster

    Read more

  • With a strong French presence, veterans and fresh faces, Cannes aims to please

    Read more

  • Russia and West agree on steps to ease Ukraine crisis

    Read more

  • Mob launches deadly attack on UN shelter for S. Sudan civilians

    Read more

  • Eurostar train mishap causes 'severe' delays

    Read more

  • Chelsea Clinton announces she's pregnant

    Read more

  • French troops free five aid workers kidnapped in Mali by Islamists

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • After cup defeat, Spanish pundits read last rites for Barcelona

    Read more

  • India heads to polls in single largest day of voting

    Read more

Americas

Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's firebrand president, dies at 58

©

Video by Josh Vardey

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-06

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died of cancer on Tuesday, ending 14 years of rule by the Socialist firebrand. Chavez had named Vice President Nicolas Maduro as his successor but the constitution calls for a snap election.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez died on Tuesday, the country’s vice president said, ending 14 years of rule by the fiery and controversial Socialist, and leaving the country in political uncertainty.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro said that Chavez died “after battling a tough illness for nearly two years.”

He was 58 and was diagnosed with cancer in June 2011.

According to Venezuela’s constitution, a presidential election must follow in order to replace Chavez, whose illness prevented him from taking the oath of office for the term to which he was re-elected last year.

Military chiefs pledge loyalty to Maduro

Under the constitution, the head of Congress, Diosdado Cabello, would assume the interim presidency.

But Chavez had named Maduro as his preferred successor, and the vice president has been taking on a larger role since the leader disappeared in early December to undergo a fourth round of cancer surgery in Cuba.

Maduro has frequently commandeered all broadcast channels, as Chavez was known to do, to tout the “revolution” and vilify the opposition.

Meanwhile, in the wake of Chavez’s death, Venezuela's military chiefs appeared live on state TV to pledge their loyalty to Maduro.

The announcement of Chavez’s death came just hours after Maduro announced the government had expelled two US diplomats from the country.

Maduro also said that there was “no doubt” that Chavez’s cancer was caused by “the historical enemies of our homeland,” comparing the situation to the death of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, claiming Arafat, too, was “inoculated with an illness”.

Chavez’s inner circle has long accused the US of orchestrating a failed 2002 attempt to overthrow him, and he has frequently voiced anti-American rhetoric to stir up support.

Venezuela has been without a US ambassador since July 2010.

Maduro seeking to delay election?

Some analysts wondered whether Maduro’s suggestion that the country was under attack by US subterfuge might in fact be an excuse to delay the election that the country’s constitution calls for, and in the meantime tighten his grip on power.

FRANCE 24's Douglas Herbert analyses the death of Hugo Chavez

Maduro aired his claim of an alleged attempt to destabilize “Venezuelan society” and the “political system constructed in recent years” earlier Tuesday before the nation’s high command and the governors of 20 of 23 states loyal to President Chavez, half of them former military officers.

He accused the US embassy’s air force attaché Col. David Delmonaco of spying on Venezuela’s military and gave him 24 hours to leave the country.

Later Tuesday, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said a second US air force attaché was being expelled, also for alleged espionage.

Maduro also said the government was “on the trail of other elements that figure in this entire venomous scenario and are seeking to stir up trouble.”

Except for photos released in mid-February, Chavez had neither been seen nor heard from since undergoing a fourth round of surgery in Cuba on Dec. 11 for an unspecified cancer in the pelvic area.

The government said Chavez returned home on Feb. 18 and had been confined to Caracas’ military hospital ever since.

The man Chavez defeated in Oct. 7 presidential elections, Henrique Capriles, would be expected to represent the opposition in any new elections.

Maduro repeated government claims that Capriles met in the United States over the weekend with right-wing US conspirators.

President Barack Obama on Tuesday said the United States is interested in starting a new relationship with Venezuela after the death of its socialist president.

"As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights," he said.

Chavez ran Venezuela for more than 14 years as a virtual one-man show, gradually placing all state institutions under his personal control. But the former army commander, who rose to fame by launching a failed 1992 coup, failed to groom a successor with the same force of personality.

(France24 with wires)

Date created : 2013-03-06

  • OBITUARY

    Hugo Chavez: populist, revolutionary, autocrat?

    Read more

  • VENEZUELA

    Chavez's heir: from bus driver to president-in-waiting

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)