Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Dies (VIDEO)

By Emma Koch

March 7, 2013 Updated Mar 7, 2013 at 2:05 PM EDT

(www.nbc33.com) -- Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, the charismatic leftist who dominated his country with sweeping political change and flamboyant speeches, died Tuesday at age 58, after a long battle with cancer that was shrouded in mystery and prevented him from being inaugurated for a fourth term.

According to the NBC News report:

Adored or reviled for his self-styled populist revolution, Chavez held sway over Venezuela through a cult of personality, government reforms that championed the downtrodden, and an endless stream of rhetoric denouncing capitalism, imperialism and the United States.

The "Chavistas" praised El Comandante for reducing extreme poverty and expanding access to health care and education. Critics blamed him for high inflation, food shortages, escalating crime and mismanagement of the country’s oil industry.

Human rights groups lambasted him for politicizing the judicial branch, and undermining the democratic system of checks and balances.




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