Amwal Al Ghad English - 2013-03-06 09:26:41
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has died after a two-year battle with cancer, ending the socialist leader's 14-year rule of the South American country, Vice President Nicolas Maduro has said in a televised speech.
Maduro, surrounded by other government officials, announced the death in a national television broadcast on Tuesday.
"In the immense pain of this historic tragedy that has affected our fatherland, we call on all the compatriots to be vigilant for peace, love, respect and tranquility," Maduro said.
Maduro said the government had deployed the armed forces and police "to accompany and protect our people and guarantee the peace".
Elias Jaua, the foreign minister, said Chavez's hand-picked successor Maduro would take over as interim leader pending the next election, declaring: "It is the mandate that comandante President Hugo Chavez gave us."
Venezuela's constitution, however, specifies that the speaker of the National Assembly, currently Diosdado Cabello, should assume the interim presidency if a president can't be sworn in. More»