Tears streamed down the face of Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro yesterday as he announced that longtime Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez was dead. The news likely came as a surprise to no one—Chavez had been battling cancer for years and was long thought to be on his deathbed. In fact, the Venezuelan leader had not been seen in public since December.
Though not unexpected, Chavez’s death has far-reaching—and potentially dangerous—implications for the U.S. and the world.
Addressing the nation, Maduro called on the Venezuelan people to rally together in the spirit of “love, peace, and discipline,” proclaiming, “Let there be no weakness, no violence. Let there be no hate.” Interestingly, this came from the same man who just three hours earlier made irresponsible and dangerous claims that Chavez’s poor health was caused by deliberate acts of the regime’s enemies.
Further implicating the U.S., Maduro also expelled American military attaché David Delmonaco from the country, charging him with engaging in “destabilizing projects” against the regime.
Because they are outlandish to our ears, these claims may seem inconsequential. Yet in Venezuela, these ridiculous assertions threaten to take a dangerous situation from bad to worse.
Read More at heritage.org . By Jessica Zuckerman.
Photo credit: www_ukberri_net (Creative Commons)