President Hugo Chavez, the fiery populist who declared a socialist revolution in Venezuela, crusaded against U.S. influence and championed a leftist revival across Latin America, died Tuesday at age 58 after a nearly two-year bout with cancer.
Vice-President Nicolas Maduro, surrounded by other government officials, announced the death in a national television broadcast. He said Chavez died at 4:25 p.m. local time.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says he hopes the death of President Hugo Chavez brings a more promising future for the Venezuelan people.
“At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights,” Harper said in a statement Tuesday evening.
The prime minister said he was offering his “condolences to the people of Venezuela,” and that he looked forward “to working with his (Chavez’s) successor and other leaders in the region to build a hemisphere that is more prosperous, secure and democratic.”