Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dead after battle with cancer

CARACAS, Venezuela –  Some in anguish, some in fear, Venezuelans raced for home on Tuesday after the government announced the death of President Hugo Chavez, the firebrand socialist who led the nation for 14 years.

Vice President Nicolas Maduro’s voice broke and tears ran down his face as he appeared on national television to announce that Chavez died at 4:25 p.m. local time 3:55 p.m EST “after battling hard against an illness over nearly two years.”

He did not say what exactly killed Chavez, although the government had announced the previous night that a severe new respiratory infection had severely weakened him.

Just a few hours earlier, Maduro made a virulent speech against enemies he claimed were trying to undermine Venezuelan democracy.…(more)

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