Venezuela Mourns President Hugo Chavez
President Chavez died Tuesday after a long struggle with cancer | IN THE NEWS
From VOA Learning English, this is IN THE NEWS inSpecial English.
Venezuelans are remembering President HugoChavez, who died after a heart attack earlier this week. The president had not been seen in public sinceDecember.
For the past two years, Hugo Chavez battled pelviccancer. He returned to Venezuela last month followingmedical treatment in Cuba. He was unable to attendswearing-in ceremonies for another term in office inJanuary.
On Tuesday, Venezuelan Vice President NicolasMaduro announced the death of President Chavez.
"We're going to miss him until the last day of our lives but we carry on hislegacy here and we will carry it on with strength. May our people know that thedemocratic, revolutionary, anti-imperialist and socialist legacy of ourComandante is carried on with firmness, with absolute loyalty.''
Mr. Maduro said the leader’s body will be treated so people can see it for manyyears to come. He accused Venezuela’s enemies of attacking the presidentwith cancer. He did not say how that could have been done.
Hugo Chavez dreamed of playing major league baseball in the United States, but instead chose to join the Venezuelan army. He was jailed in 1992 forleading an unsuccessful attempt to oust then-president Carlos Andres Perez.
In 1998, Hugo Chavez was himself elected president after promising to endpoverty and corruption.
To help finance social programs, he nationalized, or seized control of, majorbusinesses, including oil companies. Millions of Venezuelans loved him forusing the country’s oil wealth to provide low-cost food, free medical care andother programs. However, the United States and much of Latin Americacriticized President Chavez for his social policies and for nationalizingcompanies. They also disapproved of his ties with Cuba, Iran and Libya.
Mr. Maduro will lead Venezuela until new elections are held.
Observers are wondering what will happen to relations between Venezuelaand the United States in the coming months. After the Venezuelan leader’sdeath, President Obama said the United States was re-confirming its supportfor the Venezuelan people. President Chavez repeatedly accused the UnitedStates of working against his socialist revolution. In 2002, the Bushadministration supported an effort to oust the Venezuelan leader. Theoverthrow attempt failed.
Over the years, Venezuela has remained a major supplier of oil to the UnitedStates. It also provides free heating oil to poor Americans through a non-profitgroup.
Philip Brenner is with American University in Washington. He says relationsbetween the nations would be better if the United States recognizedVenezuela’s actions and not symbolic speech.
"I think the important thing to remember about Venezuela is that they havenever even threatened to cut off our oil. Venezuela has done nothing toactually harm U.S. interests except to challenge U.S. dominance."
Shortly after the death of President Chavez, Vice President Maduroannounced the expulsion of two American diplomats. He said they wereplanning to weaken the Venezuelan government. The United States hasrejected his claim.
Date: 2016-04-22; view: 244