Week Of Mourning Declared In Venezuela; Citizens Grieve Chavez’s Death [PHOTOS]

 @AmruthaGayathri
on March 06 2013 4:18 AM
  • Supporters of Chavez mourn his death
    Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez react to the announcement of his death in Caracas on March. 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Supporters of Chavez
    Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez react to the announcement of his death in Caracas on March 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Supporters mourning the death of Chavez
    Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez react to the announcement of his death in Caracas on March. 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Supporters mourning the death of Chavez
    Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez react to the announcement of his death in Caracas on March. 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Supporters of Chavez gather in Caracas
    Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez react to the announcement of his death in Caracas on March. 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Peru's supporters of Chavez
    Peru's supporters of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez wait in line to write messages in a book of condolences inside Venezuela's embassy in Lima on March. 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • A crowd cheers at a restaurant in Florida
    A crowd cheers at a local restaurant where opponents had gathered to celebrate following death of Venezuelan President Chavez in Doral, Florida on March. 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Dominican supporters of Chavez light candles
    Dominican supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez light candles in Santo Domingo on March. 6, 2013 REUTERS
  • Supporters of Chavez light candles
    Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez light candles as they gather for a vigil at a school for teachers in Tegucigalpa on March. 6, 2013 REUTERS
  • Venezuelans in Mexico react to Chavez's death
    Employees of Venezuela's embassy hug while standing next to a photograph of Chavez in Mexico City on March. 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • A supporter in San Salvador
    A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez has his name written on her face while standing on a square in San Salvador REUTERS
  • Reaction outside the Venezuelan Embassy in Buenos Aires
    A supporter of Venezuela's President Chavez reacts to the announcement of his death outside the Venezuelan Embassy in Buenos Aires on March 6, 2013 REUTERS
  • Venezuelan players react to the news of Chavez's death
    Venezuela's Deportivo Lara players react to the news that Venezuela's President Chavez has died, before their Libertadores Cup soccer match against Paraguay's Olimpia in Asuncion on March 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Bolivian supporters of Chavez
    Bolivian supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez hold posters of him near the Venezuela's embassy in La Paz on March 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Supporters of Chavez outside Venezuela's embassy in Guatemala City
    Supporters of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez wave flags and shout slogans while standing outside Venezuela's embassy in Guatemala City on March. 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • Students in Panama City
    Students work on a mural in honor of Hugo Chavez after his death was announced, in Panama City on March 5, 2013 REUTERS
  • A supporter of Chavez mourns
    A supporter of Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez reacts to the announcement of his death in Caracas on March 5, 2013 REUTERS
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Venezuela declared a week of mourning on Wednesday after the death of its president, Hugo Chavez, who led the country for more than 14 years.

The 58-year-old socialist leader, who had won re-election to a third presidential term on Oct. 7, died on  Tuesday after losing a long battle against cancer that was first detected in his pelvis. He had not been seen or heard in public since he underwent his fourth cancer surgery in Havana on Dec. 11.

Chavez's body will be transferred from a hospital to a military academy on Wednesday, with a state funeral scheduled for Friday, the government announced.

Hours after Chavez's death, Foreign Minister Elias Jaua announced that Vice President Nicolas Maduro, whom Chavez named as his successor, will lead the country until new elections, which must be held within 30 days.

Maduro, a 50-year-old former bus driver and union leader, is expected to be the government's candidate at a new presidential election that is likely to pit him against opposition leader and state governor Henrique Capriles.

In Caracas, Venezuela's capital, hundreds of grief-stricken supporters of the late-president gathered at Plaza Bolivar and outside the military hospital where Chavez was being treated, the Telegraph reported.

Within minutes of the announcement of Chavez’s death, Venezuela's national flag was lowered to half mast in Caracas, the report said.

Patricia Villegas, a Venezuelan journalist who was outside the military hospital, told the Telegraph: “There were tears, [and] people looked to the sky and gave thanks for the social changes that had been brought about.”

Chavez’s self-styled socialist government used billions of dollars from Venezuela’s oil refineries to support food subsidies and state-funded social programs, but it has had to contend with a housing crisis, power shortages, an alarming surge in crime, inflation and a weakening economy.

The anti-imperialist and often virulently anti-American leader had aligned his country with such U.S. adversaries as Cuba, Russia, Iran and Belarus.

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