• Spain's news in English

Spanish PM sad over Chavez death

George Mills/The Local/AFP · 6 Mar 2013, 14:21

Published: 06 Mar 2013 10:10 GMT+01:00
Updated: 06 Mar 2013 14:21 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit
The charismatic Hugo Chazez had led the South American country since 1998. He died on Tuesday at the age of 58 after a long battle with cancer. 
In a telegram sent to Venezuela's executive vice president Nicolás Maduro on Wednesday, the Spanish prime minster sent his condolences to Chavez's family.
In the telegram, Rajoy said Chavez  was "one of the most influential figures in contemporary Venezuelan history".
The Spanish leader also said Spain would continue to work to strengthen bilateral ties with Venezuela and spoke of the strong friendship between the two countries and their citizens.  
Earlier on Wednesday, the socialist politician and ex-prime minister of Spain, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, told Cadena Ser that Chavez's "heritage can't be viewed through European eyes".
He told the radio station that Chavez was part of a South American landscape and  that it was too early to say what the legacy of Chavez would be. 
The socialist politician went on to describe Chavez's personality as "passionate" both "in public and in private". 
The King of Spain King Juan Carlos once famously said to Chavez "Why don't you just shut up?" during the 2007 Ibero-American Summit in Santiago, Chile. The Spanish king made the comment after Chavez repeatedly interrupted a speech by the then prime minister Zapatero.
Chavez stayed in power for 14 years, winning elections "with a mix of personal charisma, largesse in the use of oil money, populist rhetoric and an ability to convince many that their lives would be better thanks to the Bolivarian revolution," said Spanish daily El Pais.
Chavez's Bolivarian revolution, a socialist movement inspired by Venezuelan revolutionary leader Simon Bolivar, had promised economic independence and equality to the people.
"But it seems more than improbable that any successor will be able to stir enough support to make citizens tolerate for much longer the enormous financial imbalances, daily shortages, extensive corruption or rampant urban violence that afflict the Caribbean nation and that remain in place or are even worse after the late president's long reign," El Pais said.
Story continues below…
A rival Spanish daily, the conservative El Mundo, said Chavez's death had sown "paranoia" among Venezuelan leaders. Vice President Nicolas Maduro made clear he believed there had been a "political assassination", it said.
"Now begins an uncertain interim period," El Mundo warned.
Chavez survived a military coup against him in 2002 and won 55 percent of the vote in Venezuela's most recent elections on October 7th 2012. He was, however, too ill to attend his inauguration.
The governments of Iran, China, Russia and Cuba have lauded the leadership of Chavez while US president Barack Obama released a statement saying: "The United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government."

George Mills/The Local/AFP (george.mills@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Spain's Podemos sees golden opportunity in Socialist woes
Pablo Iglesias is ready to step up in opposition. Photo: AFP

As Spain's conservatives prepare to re-take power after 10 months of political limbo, anti-austerity party Podemos has set its sights on replacing the divided Socialists as the main opposition force.

Wildlife ranger accused over decapitated bison in Valencia
The headless corpse of Sauro was found last month. Photo: Carlos Alamo / Reserva de Valdeserrillas

The case of the beheaded bison at a wildlife reserve in Valencia just got a whole lot weirder.

Spain jobless drops below 20% for first time in six years
The unemployed queuing up outside a Madrid job centre. Photo: AFP

Spain's unemployment fell below 20 percent for the first time in six years, official figures showed on Thursday.

'Saints not ghouls' insists Spanish church for Halloween
Suggested outfits from the Bishopric of Cadiz and Ceuta. Photo: Shower of Roses

Spanish bishops are urging good Christian children to forgo zombie, ghost and devil outfits and instead dress up as "saints, virgins and apostles".

Tough road ahead, Spain PM warns before return to power
Rajoy will try and form a government this week. Photo: AFP

Spain's acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy warned on Wednesday of a tough road ahead as he prepares to take power again at the head of a minority government with little support.

Russia withdraws request to refuel warships in Ceuta
The aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov was due to dock in Ceuta

Russia has withdrawn a request for its aircraft carrier group to be refuelled at the Spanish port of Ceuta, authorities confirmed.

Bulls replace guard dogs at scrap yard in Valencia
Two bulls will be patrolling the scrap yard in eastern Spain. Archive photo: AFP

Guard dogs were not proving enough of a deterrent to thieves at a car breakers yard in eastern Spain so the owner has brought in a pair of fighting bulls.

Two-headed shark born in Spanish laboratory
Scientists are studying the rare find. Photo: IBIMA / University of Malaga

Scientists at the University of Malaga found the embryo of a shark with two heads and just one body.

Spain under pressure to stop refuel of Russian warships
Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov is due to arrive in Ceuta. Photo: Mil Ru / Wikimedia

Spain is facing international pressure to refuse permission for a Russian warship flotilla to refuel in Ceuta en route to continuing airstrikes against the Syrian city of Aleppo.

Most wanted: Fugitive rapist arrested in Tenerife
Mohammed Jahangir Alam was arrested n Tenerife. Photo: Crimestoppers.

Mohammed Jahangir Alam, one of Britain's most wanted fugitives, who fled the country in 2008 after allegedly raping a woman, was found working in Tenerife.

Analysis & Opinion
Out of the dark: Five years on from Eta ceasefire
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Spanish 'La Mafia' restaurants banned after Italian complaint
Spain's top court overturns bullfighting ban in Catalonia
Hunt launched for ten most wanted Brit fugitives hiding out in Spain
Napflix: Spaniards launch very boring TV channel for siestas
Madrid parish church faces fine over 'too noisy' bells
Celebrate expat life at Madrid’s THRIVE convention
Fury after kids told to bring their own loo roll to school
Disney announces plans for Don Quixote action movie
Activist tells 8-yr-old matador wannabe with cancer 'just die'
King to make last minute push to avoid third vote in Spain
Amazing photos of Catalonia's 'human tower' contest
What's on in Spain: October 2016
'No way, Jose! You'll never get your hands on our Rock'
Recipe: How to make a classic Spanish tortilla de patatas
Chorizo in paella? Go back to cooking school Jamie Oliver
Spain in eye of a perfect storm after 10 months without govt
Thousands share clips of life for 'Spain in a Day' film
Ten incredible Spain locations for Game of Thrones season 7
Analysis & Opinion
Why moving to Spain could be the best decision of your life
Seven reasons why autumn is the very best season in Spain
Spanish study finds four types of personality. Which are you?
New search underway for civil war grave of poet Lorca
jobs available