Hugo Chavez: Global reactions to the Venezuelan leader's death

While he was alive, Hugo Chávez – the longest ruling democratically elected leader in Latin America – inspired people who loved him as often as he inflamed those who didn’t. That polarization seemed to follow him in death.

The Middle East

Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters
Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chávez react to the announcement of his death outside the hospital where he was being treated, in Caracas, March 5.

Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who shared Chávez’s anti-US discourse, declared a day of mourning and extolled the late president’s dedication to “serve the people, especially the poor and those scarred by colonialism and imperialism."

In a message to Diosdado Cabello, the Venezuelan National Assembly president, who according to the constitution should serve as interim leader until emergency elections are called, Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani said:

[Chávez] opened a new chapter in the political life of the Latin American nations with his valuable efforts, and the path of independence-seeking and campaign against the bullying of the world powers has now turned into a new and dynamic discourse among Latino nations.

A blog in Israel's Haaretz notes that Israel is keeping quiet after the announcement of Chavez's death, "unlike the United States and other countries that have reached out to Caracas." Chávez was one of the world's biggest critics of Israel, and by far the most outspoken opponent in Latin America.

At this stage, Jerusalem is simply following developments in the Latin American country. Foreign Ministry officials hope Venezuelan-Israeli ties will improve but say the change won't happen in the short term. Still, the two main candidates to become Venezuela's next president are more favorable toward Israel....

"Ultimately there are wide-ranging grounds for cooperation between the two countries, and Venezuela will benefit much more from a relationship with Israel than one with Iran. There is no reason the relationship with Venezuela won't resemble [Israel's] with Ecuador – there is criticism and there are disputes, but there is also cooperation," said a source at the Foreign Ministry.

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