A polarizing, provocative world figure is dead.
The question now — what will the future hold for Venezuela?
58-year-old president Hugo Chavez – who operated like a dictator – finally succumbed to cancer.
He condemned capitalism, the United States and its presidents… infamously calling president bush “the devil” back in 2006 during a speech at the United Nations.
Then, in 2008, during a Summit of America’s conference, Chavez approached President Obama, shook his hand and offered a book that claimed Europe and the U.S. exploited Latin America.
When obama criticized venezuela’s ties to iran and cuba in 2011, chavez called obama a “clown” who turned the united states into a disaster.
In office since 1998, the long-time Venezuelan leader was known for flamboyance, an over-the-top personality who ruled with government reforms.
El Comandante, as he was known, was praised for reducing extreme poverty and expanding access to health care and education.
His critics, however, blamed him for high inflation, food shortages, increases in crime and mismanagement of the country’s oil industry.
Today the foreign minister announced that vice president Nicolas Maduro will be interim president and run as the governing socialist party candidate…in elections to be held within 30 days.
One political analyst says Hugo Chavez will be remembered as someone who was an international presence for 14 years and had an impact far beyond his country’s size or wealth and beyond his own talent.
The analyst says Chavez tried to make the lives of poor people better, but in the end, made them worse.
It’s not immediately clear when the presidential election in Venezuela will be held.
Chavez was re-elected in October, but never sworn-in because of his failing health.
–Chris Wolfe, KTLA News