President Hugo Chavez mouthed 'I don't want to die… please don't let me die' just before he suffered a heart attack and died, it was revealed today.
The head of Venezuela's presidential guard said the 58-year-old leader, who was battling cancer, died after 'great suffering'.
It came as Russia's communist leader called for an investigation into claims the U.S.had 'infected its enemies in Latin America with the disease'.
Gennady Zyuganov said: 'This was far from a coincidence. How did it happen that six leaders of Latin American countries which had criticised US policies and tried to create an influential alliance in order to be independent and sovereign states, fell ill simultaneously with the same disease?'
Venezuelan authorities have not said what kind of cancer Mr Chavez had or specified exactly where tumors were removed.Tens of thousands of ‘Chavistas’ dressed in revolutionary red lined the streets of Venezuela yesterday to witness President Hugo Chavez’s coffin being driven through the city centre.
His coffin, adorned with his country's flag, was placed on the top of a car and driven slowly to the military academy where his body will lie in state for three days before a massive state funeral on Friday.
Chavez, who was 58, died after a two-year cancer battle that has been shrouded in secrecy. And it appears his death is to take on the same level of mystery as claims emerged yesterday that he died in a Cuban hospital instead of a military hospital in Venezuela's capital, Caracas. Spanish newspaper ABC claimed that after Chavez's health deteriorated after he returned to Cuba on Friday for emergency treatment. Unnamed sources told the paper Chavez was secretly moved back to Cuba and died there yesterday morning. ABC claims that Chavez died at 7am Cuban time when his family made the decision to withdraw care. To back up the claims it was noted that government ministers were not seen attending his bedside.
Yesterday there was a heavy military presence amid fears of unrest with soldiers deployed after Venezuelan officials called for peace and unity stating in television broadcasts that the government and the military were standing together. The outspoken left-winger, was staunchly anti-American and enjoyed close ties to states such as Russia and Iran.
Church vs. Chavez Highlighted Power of a Faithful Fight Against Tyrants Venezuela's clerics didn't fear tangling with the ruler when moral principles and human rights were on the line.
When Hugo Chavez opponent Cardinal Ignacio Velasco died in 2003, the Venezuelan strongman declared the pro-democracy cleric was “in hell.” At Velasco’s wake, Chavez’s flock brandished pictures of the cardinal with devil horns and hurled stones while chanting Chavista slogans. After all, Velasco had committed a cardinal sin in the eyes of the autocrat: questioned Chavez’s self appointment as supreme being and urged the people to embrace democracy and human rights instead of the Simon Bolivar fanboy. “Every day we turn another cheek. I have no cheeks left because every day there is a new insult,” Velasco said of his nemesis the year before he died.
The cardinal was succeeded in Caracas by Rosalio Castillo Lara, who was equally vilified by Chavez for using his influential post — governed by the Vatican, not by the Bolivarian thought factory — to note “the only solution is democratic, which must involve the resistance of all the people.” “If the Venezuelan people fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation and fail to categorically speak out in favor of democracy and freedom, we will find ourselves subjected to a Marxist-style dictatorship,” the cardinal said shortly before his death in 2007.
Castillo Lara was once asked if he’d like to give Chavez a blessing. “More than a blessing,” the cardinal responded. “I’d give him an exorcism.”
In announcing Chavez’s death to the nation on March 5, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the Venezuelan leader died “clinging to Christ.” The source in Venezuela told CNA that during the last weeks of his life, Chavez requested spiritual direction and asked to receive the sacraments.
Hugo Chávez, the late president of Venezuela, liked to present himself as a revolutionary, a socialist for the 21st century. Many members of the American Left presented him this way too. In reality he was the latest in the long line of caudillos, the strongmen who have been the scourge of Spanish America; “throwback” and “reactionary” are therefore more fitting ways to describe him.
Violence was his medium. A junior army officer, he did not hesitate to mount a coup, and once in power to devise a constitution that made him leader for life. He drove thousands into exile, expropriating their land and property. Venezuela depends on its oil, and nationalization of the oil companies gave him funds with which to buy popularity. Nobody knows the scale of the ensuing corruption, but rumor has it that Chávez and his family have amassed a fortune of $2 billion.
First, the good stuff. Chavez spent Venezuela’s oil money on reducing destitution and expanding access to healthcare and education. As a result, poverty was cut in half, child mortality fell by a third and death from malnutrition fell by 50 per cent. Homelessness was reduced and almost everyone gained access to clean drinking water. To his fans, this was all part of new model of development that was socialist without rejecting some element of free enterprise and activist without sacrificing democratic checks and balances. Between communism and capitalism, Chavez’s revolution held out the hope for a future without the exploitation that invariably accompanies both.
Chavez himself entered politics by way of a coup attempt in 1992 (the government he tried to overthrow was incompetent and corrupt but technically legitimate). He was a late convert to the ballot box and when he did finally form a government he wrote his own constitution and, even then, regularly broke its spirit. He persuaded a loyal legislature to grant him the right to rule by decree and he used it to pursue a revolution based on exploiting high oil prices to build a powerbase among the poor. His critics were basically anyone with an interest that conflicted with his – the Catholic Church, trades unions, private business, liberal parties. There is a global Left-wing myth that Chavez survived so long in power because his only opponent was the USA. In fact his domestic critics were plentiful, but they were either too divided to exploit their numbers or else were overpowered by Chavez loyalists in the military or the slums. It also helped that the great leader shut down over 30 radio stations and many newspapers and TV stations.
As Brendan O’Neill notes, this was not democratic socialism on the liberal European model but rather authoritarianism on the Peronist model.
Chavez should have spent the oil money on building a capitalist economy and a stronger civil society. Instead his administration was notorious for corruption and waste. During his time in office there were 120,000 murders, a rate four times that of post-war Iraq. The causes were inflation running at highs of 30 per cent, stubborn unemployment and poorly paid police.
'We have decided to prepare the body of our `Comandante President,' to embalm it so that it remains open for all time for the people. Just like Ho Chi Minh. Just like Lenin. Just like Mao Zedong,' Maduro said…. the body would be held in a 'crystal urn' at the Museum of the Revolution, a mile from Miraflores presidential palace.
The announcement followed two emotional days in which Chavez's supporters compared him to Jesus Christ, and accused his national and international critics of seeking to undermine his 'revolution.'A sea of sobbing, heartbroken humanity jammed Venezuela's main military academy Thursday to see Chavez's body, some waiting 10 hours under the twinkling stars and the searing Caribbean sun to file past his coffin.
The body of Hugo Chavez will no longer be embalmed and placed on permanent display, after Venezuelan's acting president said it had not been properly prepared in time.
The rumors that he died in Cuba seem more likely now.Posted by Jill Fallon at March 8, 2013 10:03 AM | Permalink