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After a prolonged battle with cancer, the polarizing socialist leader Hugo Chavez has died. Chavez leaves behind a country in deep economic and political crisis. What's next for the people of Venezuela?

Hugo chavez postop b 2013 02 15
Hugo Chavez with his daughters. (Venezuelan government/Courtesy)
Venezuela

World leaders offer condolences to Venezuela on death of Chavez

World leaders, including ex-US President Jimmy Carter and UN chief Ban Ki-moon, offered condolences to Venezuela following the death of Hugo Chavez.

World leaders on Tuesday offered condolences to Venezuela following the death of President Hugo Chavez after a long battle with cancer.  

After the socialist leader's death, US President Barack Obama said the United States was interested in "developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government," according to Agence France-Presse.

Earlier, Washington rejected the Venezuelan governments accusations that it was involved in a conspiracy to destabilize the South American oil-rich country. AFP reported US officials said claims in Caracas that the United States was somehow behind Chavez's cancer were "absurd."

Former US President Jimmy Carter said Chavez — whom he first met in 1998 — would be remembered for "his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments," according to a statement posted on The Carter Center website.

But Carter also acknowledged the "divisions" created under the former soldier's leadership and the need for "national healing" in Venezuela.

United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon offered his "deepest condolences" to the Venezuelan government, CNN reported. 

Regional allies also moved quickly to express their sorrow at Chavez's passing.

"The national government expresses its solidarity in light of this irreparable loss that puts the Venezuelan people and all the region in mourning and at the same time sends its heartfelt condolences to the family of the late champion of Latin America," Ecuador's foreign ministry said in a statement, CNN reported.

The BBC reported Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a close friend of Chavez, suspended all activities after his death was announced.

Further north, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper offered his condolences to Venezuelans and said he looked forward to "working with his successor and other leaders in the region to build a hemisphere that is more prosperous, secure and democratic," Reuters reported. 

But clearly not everyone was sad to see Chavez go.

Ed Royce, chairman of the US House Committee on Foreign Affairs, wished the late leader "good riddance." 

"Hugo Chavez was a tyrant who forced the people of Venezuela to live in fear. His death dents the alliance of anti-US leftist leaders in South America. Good riddance to this dictator," Royce said in a statement cited by Reuters. 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/venezuela/130305/hugo-chavez-condolences-ban-ki-moon