The death of Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez from an undisclosed form of cancer clears the way for new elections to determine whether his socialist revolution lives on without him. Elections would have to be held within 30 days.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro is Chavez’s chosen successor, but he could face a challenge from Miranda state Gov. Henrique Capriles, who lost to Chávez in the October 2012 election.
The 50-year-old Maduro somberly announced on national television Tuesday that Chávez had died. Maduro was one of the Venezuelan officials who had traveled to Cuba to visit Chávez during the president’s medical treatment on the island.
Prior to the announcement that Chávez had succumbed to his illness, Maduro held a meeting with the cabinet, military officers and state governors in Caracas. State television said its purpose was “to define strategies regarding various projects for the development of our country.”
Also Tuesday, Maduro accused Venezuela’s enemies of attacking the president with cancer.
Maduro is a former bus driver and labor union leader who sports a thick moustache. He held the post of foreign minister for six years.