World leaders react to Chavez’s death

Both tributes and veiled criticism for controversial Venezuelan leader who was known for his anti-Western stance.

Reactions to the death of Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez have been as mixed, polemical and outsized as the leader was in life, with some saying his passing was a tragic loss and others calling it an opportunity for Venezuela to escape his long shadow.

Leaders from Latin America, many of them his staunch allies, lined up to salute Chavez, with Cuba leading the plaudits to a man hailed as a “true son” to the communist nation’s revolutionary icon Fidel Castro.

Barack Obama, the US president

At this challenging time of President Hugo Chavez’s passing, the United States reaffirms its support for the Venezuelan people and its interest in developing a constructive relationship with the Venezuelan government.

As Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights.

Ban Ki-moon, UN secretary-general 

President [Hugo] Chavez spoke to the challenges and aspirations of the most vulnerable Venezuelans.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president

He was an uncommon and strong man who looked into the future and always set the highest target for himself.

Vitaly Churkin, Russian UN ambassador

He was a great politician for his country, Latin America and the world. He played a very important role in the development of relations between Venezuela and Russia, so we feel very badly about it.

Raul Castro, Cuba’s president

It is with deep and excruciating sorrow that our people and the revolutionary government have learned of President Hugo Rafael Chavez Frias’ decease.

The Cuban people view him as one of their most outstanding sons.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson

President Chavez was a great leader of Venezuela as well as a great friend of the Chinese people and has made an important contribution to friendly and co-operative relations between China and Venezuela.

Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s president

We recognise a great leader, an irreparable loss and above all a friend of Brazil, a friend of the Brazilian people.

Evo Morales, Bolivia’s president

Chavez will continue to be an inspiration for all peoples who fight for their liberation.

Chavez will always be present in all the regions of the world and all social sectors. Hugo Chavez will always be with us, accompanying us.

We are in pain.

Rafael Correa, Ecuador’s president

Chavez’s death was an “irreparable loss” for Latin America. We have lost a revolutionary, but millions of us remain inspired.

Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia’s president

Chavez’s death was “a great loss for Venezuela and the region, for Colombia and for me personally”.

Jose Mujica, Uruguay’s president 

You are always saddened by a death. But when you are talking about someone who has fought on the front line, and about someone who I remember I once called ‘the most generous leader I have met’, well the pain takes on a whole new dimension.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president

He finally died from a suspect illness and he gave his life… to the elevation of his country and the freedom of his people.

Hugo is alive as long as justice, love and freedom are alive. He is alive as long as nations are alive and make the effort to establish independence, kindness and justice.

Jimmy Carter, the former US president 

Chavez “will be remembered for his bold assertion of autonomy and independence for Latin American governments”.

We came to know a man who expressed a vision to bring profound changes to his country to benefit especially those people who had felt neglected and marginalised.

Stephen Harper, Canadian prime minister

At this key juncture, I hope the people of Venezuela can now build for themselves a better, brighter future based on the principles of freedom, democracy, the rule of law and respect for human rights.

Source: News Agencies