By Tia Law
The news reported by Venezuela’s Vice president stated that president Hugo Chavez, one of the most prominent & controversial leaders in Latin America, died Tuesday after a long, mysterious battle with cancer.
The charismatic hardline president who dominated his country with sweeping political change and flamboyant speeches, died Tuesday at age 58, after a long battle with cancer that was shrouded in mystery and prevented him from being inaugurated for a fourth term.
Adored or reviled for his self-styled populist revolution, Chavez held sway over Venezuela through a cult of personality, government reforms that championed the downtrodden, and an endless stream of rhetoric denouncing capitalism, imperialism and the United States.
The “Chavistas” praised El Comandante for reducing extreme poverty and expanding access to health care and education. Critics blamed him for high inflation, food shortages, escalating crime and mismanagement of the country’s oil industry.