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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad paid tribute to late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez on Wednesday saying he had fallen "martyr" to a "suspect illness".

Ahmadinejad hailed his close ally for "serving the people of Venezuela and defending human and revolutionary values." "He finally died from a suspect illness and he gave his life... to the elevation of his country and the freedom of his people," Ahmadinejad said in a message of condolences to Vice President Nicolas Maduro.
 
The Iranian president was backing claims made by Maduro shortly before Chavez's death was announced that Venezuela's enemies had somehow afflicted the firebrand leftist with the cancer that eventually killed him.

"I have no doubt that he will return, along with the righteous Jesus and the perfect human." The last was a reference to Shiite Islam's 12th imam that Iran's majority faith believes will return with Christ to bring peace and justice to the world.

EU head hails Chavez's social leadership

European Union head Herman Van Rompuy on Wednesday hailed Venezuela's "stand-out" social development policies, as he sent his condolences following the announcement of the death of President Hugo Chavez.
 
"Venezuela has stood out for its social development and for its contribution to South America's regional integration," Van Rompuy said in a joint statement with European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso.
 
"The European Union has received with sadness the news of the passing away of the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez," the two men said.
 
"Hoping to deepen our relationship in the future, we would like to send our sincere condolences and sympathy to the people and the government of Venezuela," they added.

Chavez a 'great leader and great friend': China

China described the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez as a "great friend of the Chinese people" on Wednesday, promising to maintain ties with the petroleum-rich South American country.
 
Chavez, known for his leftist policies, sought close relations with Beijing's Communist authorities in a bid to reduce his country's dependence on the United States, and Venezuela now sells some 640,000 barrels of oil a day to China.
 
In turn, Beijing has extended at least $30 billion in credit to Caracas.


"President Chavez was a great leader of Venezuela as well as a great friend of the Chinese people and has made an important contribution to friendly and cooperative relations between China and Venezuela," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
 
President Hu Jintao and soon-to-be-installed leader Xi Jinping had sent personal messages of condolence to Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro following the 58-year-old leader's death from cancer, she added.
 
"Venezuela is an important country in the region and also a good friend of China," she said at a regular briefing in Beijing.

"He was an uncommon and strong man who looked into the future and always set the highest target for himself," Putin said in a telegram of condolence, thanking Chavez for laying the "solid basis" for Russia-Venezuela relations.

Brazil's Rousseff says Chavez death 'irreparable loss'

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Tuesday that Hugo Chavez's death was "an irreparable loss" and hailed him as a "great Latin American" and "a friend of the Brazilian people." Rousseff led a minute of silence in honor of the dead Venezuelan leader at a meeting in Brasilia, and said she was canceling a trip to Argentina scheduled for Thursday.

Putin hails Chavez as 'uncommon, strong man'

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hailed his late Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez as an uncommon and strong man who had made a huge contribution to relations between Moscow and Caracas.

Obama: US supports Venezuelan people after Chavez death


President Barack Obama Tuesday said the United States was interested in a "constructive" future relationship with Venezuela after the death of President Hugo Chavez, a long-time American foe.

"As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights," Obama said in a short written statement.

British foreign minister Hague "saddened" by Chavez death

British Foreign Secretary William Hague said he was "saddened" by the death of Hugo Chavez on Tuesday, saying the Venezuelan President had left a "lasting impression" on his people.

"I was saddened to learn of the death of President Hugo Chavez today," Hague said in a statement issued by the Foreign Office. "As President of Venezuela for 14 years he has left a lasting impression on the country and more widely." The foreign minister offered his condolences to the bereaved Chavez family and to the Venezuelan people.

Chavez lost his battle with cancer on Tuesday, silencing the leading voice of the Latin American left and plunging his divided oil-rich nation into an uncertain future.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro, who struggled to hold back tears as he announced Chavez's death, said the government had deployed the armed forces and police "to accompany and protect our people and guarantee the peace."





March/06/2013

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READER COMMENTS

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Shaun Ogden

3/6/2013 10:53:15 PM

This is the man who called Bashar al-Assad a humanist and a brother and Muammar Gaddafi a friend of mine. Another of his friends was Ahmadinejad. In 2009 Press Freedom Index, Reporters Without Borders noted that Venezuela is now among the region’s worst press freedom offenders. During Chávez's administration, homicide rates more than tripled, with one NGO finding the rate to have nearly quadrupled. Like his friends he was anti-Semitic and claimed to be a victim of US conspiracies.

Tomas Giovanni

3/6/2013 9:55:12 PM

Good grief, quoting Ahmadinejad is yet another black eye on this publication. Does anyone believe this Iranian President when he speaks?

US Observer

3/6/2013 9:29:37 PM

@ Faruk - He has 20 Billion net worth, he is exactly the type of scum you described. WAKE UP!

Faruk Timuroglu

3/6/2013 5:13:19 PM

Hugo Chavez was a saint for peoples of the world who are condemned to live in very poor conditions on rich lands. Most of the times domestic thieves sell the riches of the country and keep the money for themselves and their hold on power guaranteed by rich countries. Nevertheless, Venezuelan people better to be watchful of domestic thieves’ first rather than creating foreign enemies.

mara mcglothin

3/6/2013 5:05:50 PM

Ditto THESSALONIAN Spot on! PHIPPS Why is it that you can be killed for discussing Islam, but this man is free to give his skewed vision of Christianity freely and without comment. At least two of us have a problem with it.

Turk Uzan

3/6/2013 4:21:32 PM

@ Jim., Muslims also believe that Jesus will return. To imply that Chaves will return with him is Ironically a capital sin.

Faruk Timuroglu

3/6/2013 4:18:15 PM

Hugo Chavez was a saint for peoples of the world who are condemned to live in very poor conditions on rich lands.

Jim Phipps

3/6/2013 2:39:34 PM

Adios Hugo. RIP. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is way outside of his knowledge base about my Christian belief. I make it a point to not discuss Islam in that I probably know a little more than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. However, he has no right to discuss my belief and his comments are incredibly ignorant. This is blasphemous to Christians. Stay out of my religion Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or I will discuss your Shia belief.

Thessalonian

3/6/2013 2:35:35 PM

Mr. Ahmadinejad, those who believe that your faculties are askewed, and they are not a few, did not need a confirmation... Regards
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