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Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez Dies in Caracas

Greg Asciutto |
March 5, 2013 | 3:02 p.m. PST

Staff Reporter

Hugo Chavez, 2008 (Creative Commons)
Hugo Chavez, 2008 (Creative Commons)
Hugo Chávez, the 58-year-old socialist president of Venezuela, has died from complications related to a two-year battle with cancer, according to Vice President Nicolás Maduro. 

The self-proclaimed 21st-century socialist, who led the country since 1998, was reelected in October of 2012 for another six-year term, although his January inauguration was postponed due to an emergency medical stay in Havana, Cuba. 

Since Chávez returned to Caracas on February 18, Venezuela has regularly reported the grim conditions of the president's health.

Monday, officials announced that Chávez, who had not been seen in public since December 11, had developed a severe respiratory infection.

"There is a worsening of the respiratory function, related to the state of his depressed immune system," said Information Minister Ernesto Villegas.

According to Article 233 of the Venezuelan constitution: "When the President of the Republic becomes permanently unavailable to serve during the first four years of this constitutional term of office, a new election by universal suffrage and direct ballot shall be held within 30 consecutive days. Pending election and inauguration of the new President, the Executive Vice-President shall take charge of the Presidency of the Republic."

Maduro, along with Henrique Capriles, who fell short of defeating Chávez in the October elections, are widely assumed to compete for the presidency. 

Reach reporter Greg Asciutto here.



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