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Peruvian leaders react to death of Hugo Chavez

By Nick Rosen

A number of leaders from across the political and media spectrum commented on the death of Venezuela’s controversial president.

Peruvian leaders react to death of Hugo Chavez

Chavez supporters in Lima (El Comercio)

The death of Venezuelan president Hugo Chavéz provoked a wide range of reactions from Peruvian political and media figures. President Humala expressed his condolences and will travel to Venezuela for Chávez’s funeral.

Shortly after the announcement of the Venezuelan leader’s death, First Lady Nadine Heredia took to Twitter to write, “I share my grief and solidarity with the family and the people of Venezuela at this difficult moment. President and friend Hugo Chávez, rest in peace!”

Former president Alejandro Toledo wrote, “Now is the moment for democracy and for the Venezuelan people. Rest in peace, President Chávez.”

Lima’s mayor, Susana Villarán, said, “My solidarity with the Venezuelan people and the family of President Hugo Chávez.”

Martha Chávez and Lourdes Alcorta, congresswomen from Fuerza 2011 and the PPC, respectively, criticized Humala’s plans to travel to Venezuela. Martha Chávez also wrote, “The Venezuelans, who know the situation better, will be the ones to assess Pres. Chávez’s life and death. The Supreme Judge is who will judge his soul.”

Congressman Yehude Simon wrote, “Intolerance is wrong. One can disagree without hatred. Hugo Chávez has died, may he rest in peace, good luck to the Venezuelan people at this time.”

Cajamarca regional president Gregorio Santos referenced the César Vallejo poem Masa: “At the end of the battle, and the combatant dead, a man came unto him and said, ‘Don’t die, we love you so much!…’”

Javier Diez Canseco, a congressman from Acción Popular-Frente Amplio who is also battling cancer, wrote, “My condolences to Venezuela, its people, the United Socialist Party of Venezuela and the family of Hugo Chávez for his recent passing after valiant resistance.”

Diez Canseco’s colleague, Victor Andres Garcia Belaunde said, “The figure of Hugo Chávez will be unrepeatable; logically, there will be imitators, but I don’t think he has a successor in Venezuela or Latin America. Chavismo without Chávez is condemned to disappear.”

El Comercio published a critical editorial, arguing that Chávez’s regime was a failure. It closed by writing, “Chávez, after all, said in 2009 that: ‘After me, emptiness, chaos.’ Looking at the situation he left in Venezuela, everything indicates that in this case, he was right.”

Perú21 editor Fritz DuBois took a similar position, writing in an editorial that, “While it is inelegant to criticize someone who has recently died, ever since they announced the death of Hugo Chávez a few hours ago, we have been unable to find any reason, that would sincerely allow us to praise him.”

Meanwhile, in Congress, Chávez’s death led to an altercation between PPC congressman Luis Galarreta and Gana Perú congressman Daniel Abugattás. Galarreta refused to respect a minute of silence that Abugattás had called for. “If Mr. Abugattás wants to have a minute of silence for the death of the former dictator Hugo Chávez, that’s his problem! They can’t ask me to retract my words, that’s my political position!”

Abugattás responded, “In the name of the Peruvian parliament, I ask the forgiveness of the Venezuelan people for the wretched words of this congressman. Thank you.”